FRANKLIN FROG

From the Rounds series

Three generations of frogs demonstrate the circle of life.

This first installment in Nosy Crow’s new Rounds series of biology apps for preschoolers is actually a hybrid of sorts. The story offers plenty of frog facts (though perhaps not the “100’s” listed on the developer’s website), but there’s also fictional banter that gives the frogs a bit of character. The story begins with Franklin’s journey across land and through pond. Tap him, and he’ll say things like “Frogs like to live in damp places,” and “I don’t like to be too hot or too cold.” Readers can help him jump into the water, swim, catch food and find a place to hibernate, and they can even tag along as he finds a mate and procreates (though the latter is implied, not explicit). When Franklin’s mate lays eggs, little fingers can swipe predators away and even help hatch a tadpole. The same story repeats twice—in its entirety—featuring two of Franklin’s descendants. The soothing background music and the crisply British narration/dramatization are nearly identical to the developer’s previous offerings, and sound effects are both plentiful and charming. In keeping with the clever concept of the series title, the simple illustrations are comprised completely of circles or portions of circles.

A winner. (iPad informational app. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 8, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Nosy Crow

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.

DRAGONS LOVE TACOS

From the Dragons Love Tacos series

The perfect book for kids who love dragons and mild tacos.

Rubin’s story starts with an incantatory edge: “Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.” The playing field is set: dragons, tacos. As a pairing, they are fairly silly, and when the kicker comes in—that dragons hate spicy salsa, which ignites their inner fireworks—the silliness is sillier still. Second nature, after all, is for dragons to blow flames out their noses. So when the kid throws a taco party for the dragons, it seems a weak device that the clearly labeled “totally mild” salsa comes with spicy jalapenos in the fine print, prompting the dragons to burn down the house, resulting in a barn-raising at which more tacos are served. Harmless, but if there is a parable hidden in the dragon-taco tale, it is hidden in the unlit deep, and as a measure of lunacy, bridled or unbridled, it doesn’t make the leap into the outer reaches of imagination. Salmieri’s artwork is fitting, with a crabbed, ethereal line work reminiscent of Peter Sís, but the story does not offer it enough range.

A wandering effort, happy but pointless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3680-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

ANIMAL SHAPES

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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