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


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


Page Count: -

Publisher: Tapisodes

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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


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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An inviting look at the first day of school in Miss Bindergarten's class. The simple rhyming text tells how the animal children get ready for the big event; as a bonus, the names of the students are listed alphabetically, each first letter corresponding to its animal type (Jessie is a jaguar, Zak is a zebra, etc.): ``Gwen McGunny/packs her bunny./Henry Fetter/fights his sweater.'' The procession is interspersed with the preparations of Miss Bindergarten, aided by her pet cockatoo, in her classroom. Wolff's fine illustrations add texture to a fairly simple concept. The teacher is depicted as an efficient sheepdog; eager and organized, she tapes notes on her furniture reminding her to ``have fun,'' yet forgets to take the price tag off her dress. The use of extinct animals for the more obscure letters only adds to the fun. In this soothing introduction to an anxiety-filled event, Slate (Who Is Coming to Our House?, 1988, etc.) makes the first day a pleasure for everyone involved. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-525-45446-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1996

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