The main offering in this app is cute, and the audio provides a dimension that traditional books cannot. But it’s...

THE BINGO SONG

This utilitarian effort will appeal to fans of the song, but flawed recording features and minimal interactivity keep it from rising above the average mark.

This app isn’t going to win any awards for innovation or originality, but it’s still got some appeal. As might be expected, the song is front and center. A purple-clad blonde lass seamlessly performs the tune, inserting the claps in perfect syncopation (a good rhythm exercise for little hands and minds). The length of the “story” corresponds to the number of verses it takes to get to the part where the entire spelling of Bingo’s name-o is clapped. Scenery changes with each verse, and each screen offers a few token, underwhelming animations. Bingo, a charmingly cute sheepdog type, occasionally responds to taps by jumping or barking. The “extras” are where this app falls apart. The karaoke option offers excellent accompaniment and well-highlighted words, but the record feature is superconfusing. With no written or spoken instructions, it is up to readers to figure out when recording starts or how to re-record. The farm-animal trivia cards each pose three questions, with the option to read and answer each question or tap to hear each question and then record an answer. It’s unclear what benefit playback in this feature offers.

The main offering in this app is cute, and the audio provides a dimension that traditional books cannot. But it’s underwhelming, especially for the price. (iPad song app. 1-5)

Pub Date: April 12, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Kid's Academy

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S VALENTINE

Little Blue Truck feels, well, blue when he delivers valentine after valentine but receives nary a one.

His bed overflowing with cards, Blue sets out to deliver a yellow card with purple polka dots and a shiny purple heart to Hen, one with a shiny fuchsia heart to Pig, a big, shiny, red heart-shaped card to Horse, and so on. With each delivery there is an exchange of Beeps from Blue and the appropriate animal sounds from his friends, Blue’s Beeps always set in blue and the animal’s vocalization in a color that matches the card it receives. But as Blue heads home, his deliveries complete, his headlight eyes are sad and his front bumper droops ever so slightly. Blue is therefore surprised (but readers may not be) when he pulls into his garage to be greeted by all his friends with a shiny blue valentine just for him. In this, Blue’s seventh outing, it’s not just the sturdy protagonist that seems to be wilting. Schertle’s verse, usually reliable, stumbles more than once; stanzas such as “But Valentine’s Day / didn’t seem much fun / when he didn’t get cards / from anyone” will cause hitches during read-alouds. The illustrations, done by Joseph in the style of original series collaborator Jill McElmurry, are pleasant enough, but his compositions often feel stiff and forced.

Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-27244-1

Page Count: 20

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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An unabashed love letter from mother.

I LOVE YOU, LITTLE POOKIE

From the Little Pookie series

A sweet celebration of the bond between a mother and her Pookie.

The eighth installment in this always charming series eschews the episodic drama and silliness of earlier outing such as Spooky Pookie (2015) in favor of a mom’s-eye-view celebration of her child and the time they spend together. There is, of course, nothing wrong with drama and silliness. But while the lack of conflict and plot in favor of unapologetic sentiment makes this book a quick read, that doesn’t make it any less endearing. The rhymed verse captures a mother’s wonder as she observes the many facets of her child’s personality: “Ah, Pookie. My little one. My funny one. My child. // Sometimes you are quiet. Sometimes you are wild.” On the simple joys of shared moments, she notes, “I love to go walking with you by my side. / I love when we sing when we go for a ride. // And I love just to watch as you think and you play. / The way that you are is a wonderful way.” Paired with author/illustrator Boynton’s irresistible renderings of a porcine mommy and her playful, snuggly little piglet, the result is impossible to fault. Whether quietly reading, running in a tiger suit, singing with mom in the car, ears flapping in the breeze, or enjoying the safety of mom’s embrace, Pookie’s appeal continues unabated.

An unabashed love letter from mother. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3723-4

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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