The story's leisurely pace, relaxing music and starry theme make it a good pre-bedtime choice.

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NOA'S STARS

A winning, gentle adventure about a pint-sized aviator's star-gathering is marred only by some minor problems in the app's text.

When Ida the clumsy fairy bumps into the stars while flying, she causes them to fall. Noa, who happens to have a hot air balloon next to the roof of her home, searches the area and helps take the stars back to their proper places before bedtime. Her search is depicted in simple but sweetly evocative watercolor drawings. Noa’s face is practically a blank slate, just two playful little eyes and strands of wayward hair going in all directions. With her lantern, she collects stars amid birds, trees and ponds, creating opportunities for readers to interact with not only the stars, but all the small creatures and even the moon. The app is filled with graceful touches; page turns, navigation buttons, the list of story pages, and even an arts-and-crafts section are indicated with easy-to-find, hand-drawn icons. Though the text and buttons appear translated, the language is fine, if unremarkable. ("She looks around. There's another star! Right there, in the tree!")  The only problems are a few missing quotation marks and commas, which could easily be fixed with an app update. Otherwise, Noa's story is delightful. 

The story's leisurely pace, relaxing music and starry theme make it a good pre-bedtime choice. (Requires iOS 6 and above.) (iPad storybook app. 2-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Somoiso

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force.

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LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET

A young boy yearns for what he doesn’t have, but his nana teaches him to find beauty in what he has and can give, as well as in the city where they live.

CJ doesn’t want to wait in the rain or take the bus or go places after church. But through Nana’s playful imagination and gentle leadership, he begins to see each moment as an opportunity: Trees drink raindrops from straws; the bus breathes fire; and each person has a story to tell. On the bus, Nana inspires an impromptu concert, and CJ’s lifted into a daydream of colors and light, moon and magic. Later, when walking past broken streetlamps on the way to the soup kitchen, CJ notices a rainbow and thinks of his nana’s special gift to see “beautiful where he never even thought to look.” Through de la Peña’s brilliant text, readers can hear, feel and taste the city: its grit and beauty, its quiet moments of connectedness. Robinson’s exceptional artwork works with it to ensure that readers will fully understand CJ’s journey toward appreciation of the vibrant, fascinating fabric of the city. Loosely defined patterns and gestures offer an immediate and raw quality to the Sasek-like illustrations. Painted in a warm palette, this diverse urban neighborhood is imbued with interest and possibility.

This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25774-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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THE POUT-POUT FISH

The pout-pout fish, painted a suitable blue, is so named for his perpetual gloom: “I’m a pout-pout fish / With a pout-pout face, / So I spread the dreary-wearies / All over the place.” When a jellyfish complains about his “daily scaly scowl,” the glum fish agrees, but says his mood isn’t up to him. A squid, dubbing the fish “a kaleidoscope of mope,” receives the same defeatist answer, as do other sea creatures. Up to this point, the story is refreshing in that readers will no doubt recognize the pout-pout fish in their own lives, and in many cases, there’s just no cheering these people up. But the plot takes a rather unpalatable turn when a shimmery girl fish kisses the gloomster right on his pouty mouth. With that kiss, he transforms into the “kiss-kiss fish” and swims around “spreading cheery-cheeries all over the place,” meaning that he starts to smooch every creature in sight. (Don’t try this at school, kids, you’ll get suspended!) Still, there’s plenty of charm here, both in the playful language (“hulky-bulky sulking!”) and in the winning artwork—Hanna’s cartoonish undersea world swims with hilarious bug-eyed creatures that ooze personality. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 21, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-374-36096-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2008

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