Aside from the overuse of absolute adverbs, this is a worthwhile add to any iPad bookshelf. (iPad storybook app. 3-6)

FRIENDS

Based on the printed version of Tsitas’ book with the same title, this app chronicles the advantages and hazards of companionship.

Friends, says the narrator, will always do certain things. They’ll give you half of their snack. They’ll share their secrets. They’ll lend you their favorite belongings and help you clean your room—and the list goes on. (The number of things a friend always does may leave readers wondering if the narrator is describing a child or a genie. Can any kid live up to it all?) Regardless, friendships aren’t always so rosy. Sometimes friends have disagreements and get angry with each another. Is that the end of the world? As we all know, it can sure feel like it when you’re a child. But the author does a splendid job conveying the idea that sometimes disagreements blow over without the necessity of a courtroom trial. The app is visually interesting and beautifully illustrated. English is the sole language option, and the narration is lively and pleasantly inflective. There’s a generous amount of animation and motion but very little interactivity. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—storybook apps don’t have to be a digital circus to be good. This one strikes a nice balance.

Aside from the overuse of absolute adverbs, this is a worthwhile add to any iPad bookshelf. (iPad storybook app. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 11, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Psichogios Publications

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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As ephemeral as a valentine.

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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