Music lovers will enjoy this melodic story, which is a good thing, since they’ll likely not forget the tune anytime soon.

CAT DOORMAN'S LITTLE RED WAGON

Sing along with the classic children’s tune as a giggly girl gathers provisions for a picnic with her friends.

Writer/artist/musician Bright has adopted the moniker “Cat Doorman” for her children’s work and here employs her talent trifecta to create this adaptation of the traditional children’s song. She has modified the lyrics to fit her musical storyline and also created the book’s vibrant, childlike illustrations. The app begins with an adorable little girl pulling her wagon to the first screen. Readers are invited to place an instrument (a guitar, a piano or a full band) into the wagon, which determines the accompaniment. There’s an animated staff of music at the bottom of the screen that offers musical notation of the melody. From there, the girl visits the bakery, the dairy, an orchard and a garden, where—with the help of readers—she will collect food for her picnic. Each stop offers ample opportunity to hone fine-motor skills, and little fingers can also find interactive opportunities along the way. The musical mix is well-done, and the three-part harmonies soar (Doorman enlisted members of the Decemberists and the Corin Tucker Band to help round out the band.) The only thing missing is a way to skip around between scenes, as there are absolutely no shortcuts from beginning to end.

Music lovers will enjoy this melodic story, which is a good thing, since they’ll likely not forget the tune anytime soon. (iPad storybook app. 2-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Night & Day Studios

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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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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