Amusing, offbeat and packed with interaction, this is an alphabet app that teaches and charms.

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LITTLE BEE'S ABC

Educational and entertaining, this alphabet exploration is packed with activities, quirky illustrations and a few inside jokes for adult readers.

It's more activity app than narrative text; users interact with the content via an alphabet menu in which each letter is presented in a different type. Clicked individually, the letters are first depicted as common objects that are shaped like the letters. Although these objects should be relatively easily recognizable by the target audience, they are not the usual alphabet-book fare. For example “T” is a gavel, and “O” is a round clock face. A perky narrator, Little Bee, announces each letter and corresponding object slowly and clearly. Next the selected letter is presented as a component of six potential activities, which provide the opportunity and guidance to draw, paint or connect the dots to create the selected letter. Users also have the opportunity to trace the letter within a related word or play a game in which they are challenged to locate the letter within a themed illustration. There is also a “friends” section, which presents objects, animals and people that begin with the selected letter. The friends range from an apricot to a Zen master, which keeps it fresh; however, it is disappointing that roles such as nurse and teacher are predictably cast as female and the physician is male.

Amusing, offbeat and packed with interaction, this is an alphabet app that teaches and charms. (iPad alphabet app. 3-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Lisbon Labs

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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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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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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