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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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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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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