Skip this app and find other ways to help children learn about these holidays.

OLLIE AND TAAVI CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS

The titular Ollie and Taavi are adorable dogs who sport yarmulkes, but their rhyming celebrations of Jewish holidays fall flat in this misconceived app.

The poems are addressed to young Jews, but those without background knowledge will find themselves at sea. For instance, though a Seder plate spins around if touched, the special Passover meal is not described. The uninspiring poems move from rhyme to free verse. The Tu B’Shvat (“New Year of Trees”) selection ends in a strange image: “I can / hold / the snow / in my branches / like a baby’s cradle in winter.” Although in some parts of the world the holiday occurs during the snowy season, in others, there is no snow, especially in Israel. The words are highlighted in red when the (monotone) narration is turned on. A customizable feature allows self-recorded narration, but word highlighting does not operate when this feature is used. The volume of the lively Klezmer music, other sounds and narration can be individually controlled. Purim noisemakers called groggers whirl round, and Hanukkah latkes fry and flip over, but none is very exciting. Awkward navigation forces users to return to the homepage if they want to skip around among holidays. Ollie and Taavi often disappear completely, but no children are shown in the illustrations to spark visual interest.

Skip this app and find other ways to help children learn about these holidays. (iPad informational app. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 30, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Customizabooks

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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As ephemeral as a valentine.

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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JOHNNY APPLESEED

Though she never says outright that he was a real person, Kurtz introduces newly emergent readers to the historical John Chapman, walking along the Ohio, planting apple seeds, and bartering seedlings to settlers for food and clothing. Haverfield supplies the legendary portions of his tale, with views of a smiling, stylishly ragged, clean-shaven young man, pot on head, wildlife on shoulder or trailing along behind. Kurtz caps her short, rhythmic text with an invitation to “Clap your hands for Johnny Chapman. / Clap your hands for Johnny Appleseed!” An appealing way to open discussions of our country’s historical or legendary past. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 5-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85958-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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