Kirkus Reviews QR Code
LULA'S BREW by Elizabeth O. Dulemba


by Elizabeth O. Dulemba developed by Jacob Rhodes

Age Range: 4 - 8

An app with a story that feels completely modern even as it eschews nearly all of the iPad’s interactivity features, this tale of a witch who dabbles in food (or is she a foodie who happens to be a witch?) feels like it’s missing a few ingredients. Written, illustrated and narrated by Dulemba, who has many printed books to her credit (Soap, Soap, Soap / Jabon, Jabon, Jabon, 2009, etc.), the rhymed narrative features amusing cultural touches parents and older readers will appreciate. While she’s supposed to be studying her potions book, Lula “watched Food Channel instead,” for instance. Lula dreams of having a restaurant and her own cooking show. The rhyming text aims for sophistication (“Gourmand Magazine / Magical Fusion Cuisine”), even if the early use of the word “boogers” feels like a sop to the wet-wipe set. Overall, rhymes and meter often fall flat, making readers wish the author had chosen a prose delivery. Moreover, for all its knowing allusions to foodie culture, the app has no hipster options or interactivity beyond simple page turns (via buttons; swiping by hand doesn’t work). The colored-pencil illustrations are attractive and look good on the iPad’s screen, but the bare-bones-app approach feels disappointing for such a spicy story. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)