Don’t be fooled by the hype: For a much better treatment of “personalization,” check out Mo Willems’ Don’t Let the Pigeon...


From the Put Me in the Story series

A superficial, lackluster adaptation of Richmond’s 2010 traditional book.

The defining feature (and marketing push) of this app is personalization. Alongside the requisite reading options, there’s a button that says, “Put me in the story.” Readers can insert a photo into a Polaroid-like frame and enter a child’s name, which supposedly makes them part of the story. But really, it doesn’t: The photo is never to be seen again after the initial screens, and the use of the child’s name to label items (“[child’s name]’s bed”) is lost on little “readers,” as this book is clearly aimed at pre-readers. Do parents really need a teleprompter to mention their child’s name in the narrative? In personalized mode, most of the book’s pages are silent, though a few have sound effects like crickets chirping, a cat purring or bubbles forming in the bathtub. There is a “Read to me” option, though the personalization disappears when it is chosen. Throughout the story, glimmering stars indicate interactive hotspots, alerting readers to profoundly primitive interactions—twirling buttons and stars, to name a few. This book is one installment in a series designed to personalize “bestsellers, award winners and classics,” but the gimmick doesn’t even come close to justifying the adaptation (at least in this case).

Don’t be fooled by the hype: For a much better treatment of “personalization,” check out Mo Willems’ Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This App! (2011). (iPad storybook app. 1-4)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2012


Page Count: -

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2012

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Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come.


From the Little Blue Truck series

Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country.

This lift-the-flap, interactive entry in the popular Little Blue Truck series lacks the narrative strength and valuable life lessons of the original Little Blue Truck (2008) and its sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (2009). Both of those books, published for preschoolers rather than toddlers, featured rich storylines, dramatic, kinetic illustrations, and simple but valuable life lessons—the folly of taking oneself too seriously, the importance of friends, and the virtue of taking turns, for example. At about half the length and with half as much text as the aforementioned titles, this volume is a much quicker read. Less a story than a vernal celebration, the book depicts a bucolic drive through farmland and encounters with various animals and their young along the way. Beautifully rendered two-page tableaux teem with butterflies, blossoms, and vibrant pastel, springtime colors. Little Blue greets a sheep standing in the door of a barn: “Yoo-hoo, Sheep! / Beep-beep! / What’s new?” Folding back the durable, card-stock flap reveals the barn’s interior and an adorable set of twin lambs. Encounters with a duck and nine ducklings, a cow with a calf, a pig with 10 (!) piglets, a family of bunnies, and a chicken with a freshly hatched chick provide ample opportunity for counting and vocabulary work.

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93809-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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From the Boynton Moo Media series

Preserving the look of the classic board book—even to the trim size and rounded corners—this makeover folds new into old in such inventive ways that it may take more than a few passes to discover all the interactive features. Aboard a ship that rocks in response to a tilt of the tablet a set of animal passengers bounce belowdecks. First they take a bath featuring user-created bubbles, and then they brush their teeth using water so hot that the whole screen hazes up with wipe-able “steam.” Pajama-clad, all then wobble—or, tweaked by a finger, rocket—back outside for a bit of exercise before bed. (Readers control this part by twirling the moon.) In the finest animation of all, every touch of the night sky in the final scene brings a twinkling star into temporary being. Along with making small movements that resemble paper-engineered popup effects, Boynton’s wide eyed passengers also twitch or squeak (or both) when tapped. And though they don’t seem particularly sleepy or conducive to heavy lids, an optional reading by British singer Billy J. Kramer (whose well-traveled voice also pronounces each word individually at a touch), backed by soothing piano music, supplies an effectively soporific audio. “The day is done. / They say good night, / and somebody / turns off the light.” This is as beautiful as the developer’s earlier PopOut! Peter Rabbit while styling itself perfectly to Boynton's whimsy. (Ipad board-book app. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 7, 2011


Page Count: -

Publisher: Loud Crow Interactive

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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