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I CAN DO IT MYSELF!

A quick (the read-aloud section clocks in at just under two minutes) but, overall, satisfying read.

A simple, rhyming text provides readers a glimpse of a confident little girl’s routine at home.

Displaying her independence, Emily, who appears about kindergarten age, guides readers through a typical day, running through the tasks she has mastered, such as putting away her toys and going potty all by herself. However, the colorful and endearing illustrations tell a different story, showing Emily leaving a trail of destruction behind her that ranges from an overflowing bathtub to a spaghetti-splattered floor. Despite Emily’s endearing can-do attitude, her patient mom makes several cameo appearances, including a final appearance in which Emily acknowledges that despite her independence that it is still nice to get tucked in for bed. Throughout Emily is accompanied by her loyal puppy sidekick, adding a layer of humor, as the puppy usually bears the brunt of Emily’s mistakes. Readers can opt to be read to by a spunky young narrator who speaks clearly over a folksy instrumental and syncs with simple repetitive animations, like tail wags and teeth brushing. The “read myself” version provides some interactivity with interspersed sound effects such as popping soap bubbles, squeaking toys and a crying baby sister.

 A quick (the read-aloud section clocks in at just under two minutes) but, overall, satisfying read. (iPad storybook app. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 24, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: ZunZun Books LLC

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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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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CINDERELLA

From the Once Upon a World series

A nice but not requisite purchase.

A retelling of the classic fairy tale in board-book format and with a Mexican setting.

Though simplified for a younger audience, the text still relates the well-known tale: mean-spirited stepmother, spoiled stepsisters, overworked Cinderella, fairy godmother, glass slipper, charming prince, and, of course, happily-ever-after. What gives this book its flavor is the artwork. Within its Mexican setting, the characters are olive-skinned and dark-haired. Cultural references abound, as when a messenger comes carrying a banner announcing a “FIESTA” in beautiful papel picado. Cinderella is the picture of beauty, with her hair up in ribbons and flowers and her typically Mexican many-layered white dress. The companion volume, Snow White, set in Japan and illustrated by Misa Saburi, follows the same format. The simplified text tells the story of the beautiful princess sent to the forest by her wicked stepmother to be “done away with,” the dwarves that take her in, and, eventually, the happily-ever-after ending. Here too, what gives the book its flavor is the artwork. The characters wear traditional clothing, and the dwarves’ house has the requisite shoji screens, tatami mats and cherry blossoms in the garden. The puzzling question is, why the board-book presentation? Though the text is simplified, it’s still beyond the board-book audience, and the illustrations deserve full-size books.

A nice but not requisite purchase. (Board book/fairy tale. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7915-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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