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SHOOSH

Anton's adventure in aural admonition isn't too pleasurable; by the time he gets to make a real racket, the story's already...

Rough illustrations, a not-quite-there translation and characters who come across as remarkably troubled for a children's app make this story seem like a good argument for keeping quiet.

One morning, bushy-haired Anton climbs into his parents' bed holding a squeak-toy rubber duck (called a "bird" throughout the story). He's quieted down immediately, and thus begins a day that seems miserable from the outside; everything that Anton does, from slurping hot soup to shuffling his feet at the museum, is discouraged by his persistently nagging father. Dad, who may be in over his head, is covering for Mom's headache and entertaining young Anton for the day. In the end, Anton and Dad end up under a bridge, banging instruments as loudly as they can, a brief respite in an otherwise grim drama about stamping out a child's every whim. Perhaps it's not meant to be that bleak, but the app's off-kilter hand-drawn look, the use of guillemets (»Don't slurp!« scolds his father) instead of quotation marks and sour adult characters make it a chore, despite some nice illustrations and competent narration. "It's weekend now and we can all rest nicely," Dad says in one typically awkward exchange. The App Store description, which describes a series of "Ridi-Apps," confirms the language issue with proclamations like, "So this Ridi allow your child to tune into a foreign language and learn it" and "Ridis can help a child to bridge waiting times." Those sentences read the way the app feels; like being stuck in a place you can't quite figure out.

Anton's adventure in aural admonition isn't too pleasurable; by the time he gets to make a real racket, the story's already become a jumbled, uncomfortable slog. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 20, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Ridili

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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HOW TO CATCH A DADDYSAURUS

From the How To Catch… series

This frenetic ode to fatherhood is predictable fare but may please series fans.

It’s time to look for the elusive Daddysaurus.

In this latest installment in the seemingly never-ending series about a group of diverse kids attempting to trap mythical creatures, the youngsters are now on the lookout for a big mauve dinosaur with an emblazoned D on his stomach and a superhero cape. The fast-moving Daddysaurus is always on the go; he will be difficult to catch. Armed with blueprints of possible ideas, the kids decide which traps to set. As in previous works, ones of the sticky variety seem popular. They cover barbells with fly paper (Daddysaurus like to exercise) and spread glue on the handle of a shovel (Daddysaurus also likes to garden). One clever trick involves tempting Daddysaurus with a drawing of a hole, taped to the wall, because he fixes everything that breaks. Daddysaurus is certainly engaged in the children’s lives, not a workaholic or absent, but he does fall into some standard tropes associated with fathers. The rhyming quatrains stumble at times but for the most part bounce along. Overall, though, text and art feel somewhat formulaic and likely will tempt only devotees of the series. The final page of the book (after Daddysaurus is caught with love) has a space for readers to write a note or draw a picture of their own Daddysaurus. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

This frenetic ode to fatherhood is predictable fare but may please series fans. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-72826-618-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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