Koto is both terribly cute and terribly written. He’d do well to drum up some writing help for his creators.

READ REVIEW

KOTO GO WEST

A poorly written story about a canine sheriff who investigates loud noises.

The title of this app is a little confusing. Is Koto, the broom-toting sheriff pup, going west (in which case there would be an “es” attached to “go”)? Or is the title a command (which would make it, “Koto! Go West!”)? Either way, Koto is at the mercy of an overbearing, disembodied narrator who continually commands him to investigate noises and shush them. In each instance, the narrator thinks she knows what’s making the racket; in each case, she’s wrong. For example, what she thinks is a shrieking eagle hunting for squeaking mice in the kitchen turns out to be a whistling teakettle. Suspected rattlesnakes are simply boot spurs, spinning in the wind. In terms of interaction, there’s not much here, unless tapping words to trigger narration or advancing pages qualifies. The pages in which Koto springs into action are beautifully animated, and his expressions are endearing. However, the screens between animated pages are static and silent, even though they’re full of phrases like, “Can you feel it? / The air is trembling with shaking noises.” The story ends with the narrator encouraging Koto to have some fun, now that he’s wasted his entire day chasing her whims.

Koto is both terribly cute and terribly written. He’d do well to drum up some writing help for his creators. (iPad storybook app. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 19, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Light Sleepers

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

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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Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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