“B” forewarned—there’s nothing special enough to warrant buying this app, even at the modest price of $1.99.


A mediocre concept book featuring Bud the Brown Bunny and the letter B.

The text “This is a bunny” and a plain, black bunny silhouette introduce this book. A descriptor such as “black-tailed” and “bent eared” or an activity such as “bee watching” and “blossom eating” is added on each page, building to a long mouthful of a sentence at the end: "This is Bud, the blue-eyed, black-tailed, bent eared, ball balancing, bee watching, boulder sitting, blossom eating, bandana wearing, bubble blowing, beach dreaming, brown birthday bunny with the beige belly." The concept has potential, but unfortunately, the execution is undistinguished. The sound effects are unimaginative, and the cartoon-style illustrations are flat and mundane, with little charm or energy. Bud himself is actually a little creepy, as the illustrator chose to draw him with blue eyes and no whites or pupils. Each page features a standard animation, such as a bouncing ball, a color-changing bandana or a bubble wand that blows bubbles. Clare Kramer’s (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) narration is actually the best part of the app, injecting some vitality that partially compensates for the lackluster illustrations. There is a navigation grid on each page that allows quick access to any page. Bud has his own website, and a portion of the proceeds goes to Kids Need to Read, a nonprofit dedicated to improving children’s literacy.

“B” forewarned—there’s nothing special enough to warrant buying this app, even at the modest price of $1.99. (iPad storybook app. 2-5)

Pub Date: May 9, 2012


Page Count: -

Publisher: Bengal Studio

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.


A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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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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