Poignant ending notwithstanding, terrific fun for the Oshkosh set, with opportunities aplenty to practice motor skills, make...

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KALLEY'S MACHINE PLUS CATS

A child’s scheme to keep her commuting dad home inspires a polyfunctional machine festooned with dials, switches, levers, buttons and other controls—not to mention cats.

Based on an original design by a real child—who also supplies one of the two voices for the narrative’s animated audio—the machine features interactions aplenty. There are stations in which gears move by turning a crank, “turners” raise and lower flames in a boiler, “bashers” can be made to pound faster or slower, colors and shapes can be selected, and other functions are controlled with taps and swipes. The cartoon pictures are all drawn in simple, wobbly lines on ruled notebook paper, and the text is similarly artless: “ ‘This must be a poker,’ I casually figure. / ‘No, they’re puffers!’ she scolds me. ‘They puff things up bigger.’ ” The movements are not only broad and easy to follow, they include such sophisticated elements as a color-mixing station (three colors, but still) and a remotely controlled robot arm. Furthermore, a wordless menu/index can be pulled down at will to toggle the audio, the appropriately clang-y background music…and also the inquisitive cats that narrowly escape being bashed, baked or otherwise processed in each scene. As it turns out, the machine’s purpose is to make food, and dad’s sad response that he still has to go to work leaves the undeterred young inventor planning further machines to relieve him of the necessity.

Poignant ending notwithstanding, terrific fun for the Oshkosh set, with opportunities aplenty to practice motor skills, make choices and observe cause and effect. (Requires iOS 6 and above.) (iPad storybook app. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: RocketWagon

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 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

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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