With a little more ingenuity, creativity, interactive depth and literary effort, this app could’ve peeked its head over the...

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ALPO FINDS ALMA

After falling off the roof of his doghouse, Alpo enlists his friend Jimmy to help him find “first aid.”

There’s not much in this app that justifies its presence on the iPad—a conventional book coupled with a willing narrator would accomplish almost as much. An airplane slides through the sky and a cow “chews” her cud; it doesn’t get much more exciting than that. Alpo sheds tears and rubs his leg after falling off the doghouse, but it would’ve been nice to see the action when the text says, “Alpo slips and falls to the ground.” Jimmy happens to have a pink baby buggy strapped to the top of his jalopy, which becomes Alpo’s makeshift ambulance. On the way to the zoo to get medical care, Alpo asks several creatures to either “kiss his leg better” or put a plaster on it. Everyone declines except Alma, who has the magic lips that miraculously heal his boo-boo (leaving readers wondering if Alpo is either a shrewd ladykiller or a hypochondriac who craves attention). The best thing about the app is narrator Sean Connelly, who delivers a lively and entertaining reading of the pedestrian text.

With a little more ingenuity, creativity, interactive depth and literary effort, this app could’ve peeked its head over the “average” bar. But as it is, Alpo is still doing the limbo. (iPad storybook app. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Tapisodes

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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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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