KATE GLEESON'S BEST FRIENDS

From the Kate Gleeson's Little Beasties series

Several promising ideas gone wrong or buggy mar this digital version of a 1998 board book.

Paired to a pithy text explaining that best friends “share umbrellas,” “stick together” and sometimes even “dress alike,” simply drawn scenes in twee pastels depict a plush elephant and a calico kitty in five cozy domestic settings. Occasionally, a hyped-up squirrel zooms by on a toy car to crash or to knock popcorn into an unattended popper. An opening menu provides access to either a three-level “Concentration” game or a “Read My Book” option. Tapping a pink or blue button on the next screen selects a male or female narrator. Touch-activated effects on subsequent slow-to-load pages include a belching teddy bear, a butterfly that inexplicably buzzes like a bee, a hopping crutch that tends to get stuck in a feedback loop and, for a picture of the Little Beasties talking on their (landline) phones, a misguided set of voicemail and “failed call” recordings. Furthermore, some sounds spill over past a page turn, each screen features a “pause” button that actually opens an otherwise inaccessible thumbnail index and in “Read Myself” mode, the text on the first page vanishes after a moment. The background music channels Vince Guaraldi’s “Peanuts” soundtrack. Next to Sandra Boynton’s board-book apps, this diaper needs changing. (iPad toddler app. 6 mos.-18 mos.)

 

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Gleeson Group

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way.

THE PIGEON HAS TO GO TO SCHOOL!

From the Pigeon series

All the typical worries and excuses kids have about school are filtered through Willems’ hysterical, bus-loving Pigeon.

Told mostly in speech balloons, the bird’s monologue will have kids (and their caregivers) in stitches at Pigeon’s excuses. From already knowing everything (except whatever question readers choose to provide in response to “Go ahead—ask me a question. / Any question!”) to fearing learning too much (“My head might pop off”), Pigeon’s imagination has run wild. Readers familiar with Pigeon will recognize the muted, matte backgrounds that show off the bird’s shenanigans so well. As in previous outings, Willems varies the size of the pigeon on the page to help communicate emotion, the bird teeny small on the double-page spread that illustrates the confession that “I’m… / scared.” And Pigeon’s eight-box rant about all the perils of school (“The unknown stresses me out, dude”) is marvelously followed by the realization (complete with lightbulb thought bubble) that school is the place for students to practice, with experts, all those skills they don’t yet have. But it is the ending that is so Willems, so Pigeon, and so perfect. Pigeon’s last question is “Well, HOW am I supposed to get there, anyway!?!” Readers will readily guess both the answer and Pigeon’s reaction.

Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-04645-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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Fans of the series will be delighted.

CLASH

From the Click series , Vol. 4

Can Olive stay positive when a social-climbing bully moves to town?

In her fourth adventure, sixth grader Olive Branche is on top of the world until new girl Natasha begins to encroach on her friendships, slowly and methodically freezing her out of her many different social circles. Relentlessly optimistic Olive tries to stay genial despite Nat’s overt jibes, but when Nat takes it to a new level and ruins Olive’s carefully planned Halloween party, Olive finally confronts her. When Nat finds herself consequently ostracized, empathetic Olive has a change of heart and extends her an olive branch (groan). Olive and Nat’s relationship is highly idealized, bordering almost on wish fulfillment; Nat’s backstory offers some explanation for her behavior, but she is accepted back into the fold more easily than may seem realistic. Olive’s appeal is in her unceasing Pollyanna-like sunniness and her ability to be accommodating and find the best in every situation. Though consistent in tone with its predecessors, in this entry Olive does have some moments of anger (albeit quickly reconciled); her portrayal here is the most human she’s been throughout the series. Although this is the fourth installment, each volume is mostly self-contained, making this equally accessible for established and new readers. Olive and Nat read as White; the supporting cast is inclusive and diverse.

Fans of the series will be delighted. (Halloween costume craft ideas, author Q&A) (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-24220-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Etch/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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