Though the interactive features are nondescript, this sweet, simple story may spur a valuable conversation or two about...

MOO SAID MORRIS

This tiny tale about individuality aims to encourage kids to be exactly who they are—without apology.

Morris, a diminutive mouse, doesn’t squeak like the others. In fact, he doesn’t squeak at all. One might say he’s multilingual. Morris is a one-mouse barnyard, making the sound of a different animal (as well as a couple of other objects) every time he opens his mouth. With each “quack,” “vroom” or “cock-a-doodle-doo,” his fellow rodents become increasingly determined to fix him. They’re definitely not comfortable with his abnormal way of communicating. All the while, Morris doesn’t seem fazed; he just keeps on being…Morris. Tactile interactions are minor, mostly triggering slight animations. Little ones can find and collect cheese wedges to unlock a “record” feature, which allows them to do voice-overs on the sounds. Once the recordings are complete, readers have two versions of the story: the original and a personalized edition that inserts the recordings into the narrative (hint: recording begins after the countdowns, not before). At the end of the story, a cat shows up; when Morris barks like a dog, the cat scampers away, never to return. Suddenly, his quirky linguistic style is seen as an asset, and he wins the affections of his former detractors.

Though the interactive features are nondescript, this sweet, simple story may spur a valuable conversation or two about nonconformity.   (Requires iOS 6 and above.) (iPad storybook app. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Digital Leaf

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 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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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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