A well-crafted app that will hold interest for little ones as they learn and practice their ABCs. (iPad alphabet app. 2-6)

CARTOON ABC

An engaging ABC app encourages kids to learn and explore the alphabet.

Each page features a gray cityscape serving as a background for large representations of the letters of the alphabet. The upper- and lowercase letters enter in grand style: The “H” emerges from the yawn of a hippo, the “N” is flown in by a nightingale, and an egg cracks, and the “E” pops out. One accompanying word and illustration appear right away in color, and there are two more hidden illustrations in the gray background; their outlines flash in white until kids press them, and then they animate with color, narration and sound effects. The graphics look like simple clip art, but the animations and sound effects together are playful and effective. Some of the words are a little difficult, like “nightingale” and “zeppelin,” but generally, the words are simple and will be familiar enough to the target age group to make stretching a pleasure, not a burden. Kids can choose letters at will or go through the alphabet A-Z. Multiple kids can have profiles with their pictures and names, and there is a parents’ area that features a bar chart showing which letters have been accessed how many times for each profile. There is an accessible navigation area at the top of each page that takes kids back and forth one page or to the home screen. Lively music and sound effects can be turned on or off, and kids can choose to have male, female or both voices narrate the app. These can be set from the home page or from a pull-up menu on each page. 

A well-crafted app that will hold interest for little ones as they learn and practice their ABCs. (iPad alphabet app. 2-6)

Pub Date: July 4, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Kid's Academy

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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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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