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

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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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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