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

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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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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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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