The graphics in this simple app are irresistibly cute, but the incongruently rhymed story could use a little tidying up.

READ REVIEW

TIDY MICE TALES

A TIDY TALE OF A TATTY TOWN

Rodents go wild—with cleaning supplies, that is.

There’s an unspoken rule in poetic endeavors: Either rhyme it, or don’t. Going back and forth between the two makes for a choppy ride, especially when the meter is inconsistent. The text of this app begins well enough, but by the second page, the structure is lost, as evidenced by the badly rhymed, extra-syllabic verse. The story goes something like this: A group of tidy mice that live in a dingy, polluted town decide to be good Samaritans and give the city a shine at night while everyone is sleeping. They are literally an overnight success. The next morning, not only do the buildings glisten, but the sun is out, flowers and green grass have miraculously appeared, and the fireplaces seem to be burning clean energy (clouds of gray chimney smoke have suddenly turned white). There are navigation icons at the top of each page, one of which offers interactive hints. Tapping clouds produces thunder and lightning; the mice mutter cutely when touched; and there are plenty of other simple interactions to accommodate eager little fingers. Bonus features include a matching game and six jigsawlike puzzles (though the numbering and one of the hints are incorrect). 

The graphics in this simple app are irresistibly cute, but the incongruently rhymed story could use a little tidying up. (iPad storybook app. 2-5)

Pub Date: May 22, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: SmallBytes

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 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

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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THE GOODNIGHT TRAIN

From the The Goodnight Train series

As The Goodnight Train traverses la-la land, the rhythmic chugging and the cadenced clickety-clacking will eventually lull even the most stalwart child to sleep. So, “Find your sleepers! Grab your teddy.” The train sets forth over hill and dale, puffing and huffing, embraced by somnolent shades of blue and purple. Upward through the tunnel, the train rockets around the curve and toward its destination, choo-chooing all the way as it passes over a flat plain and through a field of sheep. Gradually, the train begins to slow. At last the little locomotive pulls into the depot and its occupants sigh and close their sleepy eyes. The illustrations depict welcoming creatures of all sorts, children and skunks alike. There is bountiful fun to be had in the journey’s creamy hues, painting fantastic hypnagogic images such as a turtle shoveling cinnamon rolls and a mermaid applying night cream. The cheerful and rhyming text paired with the frothy art creates an enchanting trip to dreamland. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-15-205436-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2006

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