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FRIENDS

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

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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YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

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

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 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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DRAGONS LOVE TACOS

From the Dragons Love Tacos series

A wandering effort, happy but pointless.

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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 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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