The cutie monsters live up to their name, but that's about it.

CUTIE MONSTERS

JIGSAW PUZZLES

An app that’s high on cuteness and low on actual counting skills.

This app features 10 playful monsters, reminiscent of the popular Ugly Dolls, with text that encourages readers to count items from one to 10. “Blushy has one curly tail. / Toothy has two horrible horns.” Toddlers will laugh at the colorful monsters and their goofy, mostly apropos names. With a touch, the monster wiggles and makes a silly sound, and the relevant numeral appears in a clear, large type. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that this app will help young children learn to count, as there are no interactive features prompting children to touch and count the item in question. The app has three modes: read it myself, “touch read” words and jigsaw puzzle. With the “touch read” option, readers must tap individual words to hear them spoken aloud. This keeps young readers attentive to the app, but it requires them to tap the words in the correct order for a full sentence. The jigsaw-puzzle activity is well designed for toddlers and preschoolers, with three to six simple pieces each. This app will help children learning to count if they read it with an adult as they would a picture book, but it does not take advantage of the iPad’s interactive features to reinforce counting skills.

The cutie monsters live up to their name, but that's about it. (iPad storybook app. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 21, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little Phoenix Interactive

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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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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ROADWORK

Sutton’s latest is a truck-lover’s dream come true—repetition, rhyme and onomatopoeia form the text, while construction trucks vie for readers’ attention in the illustrations. The result is a wonderfully noisy look at how roads are built. From a line on a map and an empty field to the finished road complete with lights and signs, youngsters will be able to follow all the steps, learning all the vehicles that take part in the process (a final page introduces readers to each one). “Pack the ground. Pack the ground. / Roll one way, then back. / Make the roadbed good and hard. / Clang! Crunch! Crack!” Lovelock’s debut certainly makes an impression. His pigmented ink illustrations keep the focus on the machines and the individual parts they play in building the road. The level of detail matches the text’s intended audience—enough to satisfy, not so much as to overwhelm. Pave the way to this book’s shelf; perfect for read-alouds, it will be a hit whether shared with a group or one-on-one. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-7636-3912-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2008

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