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WILD ABOUT BOOKS by Judy Sierra Kirkus Star


by Judy Sierra & illustrated by Marc Brown & developed by Random House Digital

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: Jan. 21st, 2011
Publisher: Random House Digital

Still the best Dr. Seuss tribute ever, Sierra’s rhymed 2004 tale of a librarian who gets all the animals in the zoo reading and writing is even funnier and more kinetic with digital flourishes.

Though Molly McGrew drives her bookmobile into the zoo by mistake, she does such a fine job turning her animal audience on to reading and writing that by the end there’s nothing for it but to build a branch library on the grounds. Here, an uncredited but engagingly exuberant narrator reads it aloud while each word is highlighted. The bouncy, playful verses—“Raccoons read alone and baboons read in bunches. / And llamas read dramas while eating their llunches”—accompany 17 brightly colored tableaus, each composed of layers that pop into view and roll back and forth with tilts of the tablet. Along with automatic but undistracting movements, there are balloons and balls to lead with a finger; blinks, nods, hysterical laughter (from the hyenas) and roars that are induced by a finger tap; “stinging” comments from an ill-tempered scorpion—even the occasional stampede. The narration and the soundtrack can be switched off separately, and an index of thumbnail images provides repeat visitors with shortcuts to favorite pages. As apps go this one is a little slow to load, and the art’s tilt-induced rolling may induce queasy stomachs (particularly for readers in moving vehicles) if overdone.

Otherwise a seamless adaptation of a modern classic, inventively enhanced, hilarious, a joy to read—particularly aloud. (iPad storybook app. 5-9)