A good, entry-level app, gratifyingly easy if also easy to move beyond.

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MEET HECKERTY

An elemental story of a forgetful witch.

Heckerty is a frightful witch. Not in terms of behavior but...let us be honest, it’s her face. All those spots and warts, and her Brillo-pad hair doesn’t help. Today, however, she has to have a photo taken for her passport, and she is in close consultation with her cat, Zanzibar, about a spell to make her presentable. Her spell book has gone missing, so she has to wing it, which is a big mistake. But really, what’s wrong with a green face full of spots and warts when Heckerty is such a sympathetic creature? Not to mention that readers can paint her face blue, purple or a dozen other colors, along with her hands, coat, shoes or socks. Kids can read along or alone or use the book simply for coloring purposes. The vocabulary sometimes outruns the target group—“Zanzibar,” for one, and “lizard” and “cauldron”—but those are good words for children to look forward to. The joy here is in the interaction. The colors are saturated, and there are many little creatures to let loose and run about, plus wiggling ears, rolling eyes and floppy heads. There is enough variety here to give the story some lasting power, but not great quantities of it.

A good, entry-level app, gratifyingly easy if also easy to move beyond. (iPad storybook app. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 20, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Broomstick Productions Inc.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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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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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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