Look for winces of sympathy and steady streams of laughter from young readers.

I REALLY HAVE TO GO!

Bladder pressure drives a lad to desperate measures in this short but suspenseful import.

Weighing in at just 12 pages, young Brian’s increasingly frantic quest for relief nonetheless gushes with hilarity. His ride from school is cut short by a flat tire, both the “toilet” and the “bathroom” at home are occupied, the neighbors can’t hear him and he gets a hostile reception from a prickly bush. At last a tree that a dog is also watering provides a spot for sweet relief—followed by public embarrassment when he turns prematurely to watch a parade marching into view. Originally published in 2009 in the Netherlands, this digital version offers both text and (optional) audio narration in five languages, plus word-by-word highlighting. The conversion isn’t seamless, as each urban scene (done, appropriately, in watercolors) takes up a screen and a half and has to be dragged from side to side to be viewed in its entirety. Still, navigation is easy. Brian is discreetly angled in the cartoon art, and a continuing track of music or quiet urban noises (enhanced by several touch-activated sounds and small animations in each scene) backs up a comically expressive narration.

Look for winces of sympathy and steady streams of laughter from young readers. (iPad storybook app. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2010

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Piccolo Picture Books

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids.

SADIE SPROCKET BUILDS A ROCKET

A little girl’s imaginative plan to become an astronaut and be the first to travel to Mars really takes off.

Together with a crew of stuffed animals (owl, rabbit, and teddy bear), Sadie Sprocket does her research, gathers materials to build her spaceship, and, with support from family and friends—and media coverage—embarks on her historic journey. Rhyming quatrains tell the story of how Sadie patiently reads, cooks, and records important data during the 100-day interplanetary journey. And then: “The Earth behind, so far away, / was now a tiny dot. / Then Sadie cried, ‘There’s planet Mars! / It’s smaller than I thought!’ ” After landing and gathering 20 bags of samples, Sadie and crew are stuck in a red sandstorm while trying to take off again. But with Sadie’s determination and can-do spirit, they blast off, safely returning to Earth with future heroic space-exploration ideas in mind. Spiky cartoons transform a child’s playroom into an outer-space venue, complete with twinkling stars and colorful planets. Sadie presents White while her encouraging fans feature more diversity. An addendum includes brief facts about Mars and a handful of women space scientists. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1803-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in.

AT THE OLD HAUNTED HOUSE

A Halloween book that rides on the rhythms of “Over in the Meadow.”

Although Halloween rhyming counting books abound, this stands out, with a text that begs to be read aloud and cartoony digital illustrations that add goofy appeal. A girl and two boys set off on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating. As the children leave the cozy, warm glow of their street, readers see a haunted house on a hill, with gravestones dotting the front yard. Climbing the twisty path to the dark estate takes time, so the story turns to the antics inside the house. “At the old haunted house in a room with no sun / lived a warty green witch and her wee witch one. ‘SPELL!’ cried the witch. ‘POOF!’ cried the one. / And they both practiced spells in the room with no sun.” The actions of the scary creatures within may seem odd, but the rhyme must go on: Cats scratch, goblins dust, monsters stir, and mummies mix. Eventually the three kids reach the front door and are invited in for stew, cake and brew. At first shocked by the gruesome fare, the children recover quickly and get caught up in partying with the slightly spooky but friendly menagerie.

A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4769-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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