It's an adaptation that manages a tricky balance between heartfelt and hokey within an app that has a distinctive look and...


A softened-up adaptation of Czech writer Capek's short story, "The Man Who Knew How to Fly," this cheerily illustrated app still manages to convey a sense of what's lost when we leave childhood.

The ebullient girl in a red beret and polka-dot dress sails above fields and her cottage home, buoyed by starry magic. Drawn in a Golden Age vintage style, the girl's rosy cheeks and sweet smile follow her even into her sleep, where she dreams of her own airborne adventures. But soon, she's visited by a quartet of witch-like village teachers who demand to know how she flies and to measure her skill. Of course, that saps the magic from the little girl's talent, and soon she's not flying at all, left only with memories of what she once had. If that sounds depressing, most parents reading might agree, but the app does a skillful job of avoiding a maudlin conclusion with (one might say overly) upbeat music and a regained smile. The app blends its retro look with solid app design and a few well-integrated extras, like a coloring-book page, a dress-up game and the option of tilting the iPad to guide the little girl's aerial movements.

It's an adaptation that manages a tricky balance between heartfelt and hokey within an app that has a distinctive look and feel. (iPad storybook app. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012


Page Count: -

Publisher: Yellow Pixie

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.


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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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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