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


Page Count: -

Publisher: Gleeson Group

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 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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From the Boynton Moo Media series

Preserving the look of the classic board book—even to the trim size and rounded corners—this makeover folds new into old in such inventive ways that it may take more than a few passes to discover all the interactive features. Aboard a ship that rocks in response to a tilt of the tablet a set of animal passengers bounce belowdecks. First they take a bath featuring user-created bubbles, and then they brush their teeth using water so hot that the whole screen hazes up with wipe-able “steam.” Pajama-clad, all then wobble—or, tweaked by a finger, rocket—back outside for a bit of exercise before bed. (Readers control this part by twirling the moon.) In the finest animation of all, every touch of the night sky in the final scene brings a twinkling star into temporary being. Along with making small movements that resemble paper-engineered popup effects, Boynton’s wide eyed passengers also twitch or squeak (or both) when tapped. And though they don’t seem particularly sleepy or conducive to heavy lids, an optional reading by British singer Billy J. Kramer (whose well-traveled voice also pronounces each word individually at a touch), backed by soothing piano music, supplies an effectively soporific audio. “The day is done. / They say good night, / and somebody / turns off the light.” This is as beautiful as the developer’s earlier PopOut! Peter Rabbit while styling itself perfectly to Boynton's whimsy. (Ipad board-book app. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 7, 2011


Page Count: -

Publisher: Loud Crow Interactive

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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