By this time, both Little Critter and the “omBook” are tried-and-true brands, so there’s a feeling of sameness about both...


Oceanhouse applies its characteristically clean treatment to a Mayer standard.

As scraggly haired Little Critter relates all the cool things he will do with his little brother through the seasons, readers can tap the screen for voiced and spelled-out identification of various items in the picture. Many of these objects are crushingly obvious—“snowball,” “fence,” “basket”—but others are more nuanced. In an apple-picking scene, for instance, tapping the row of apple trees in the background yields “apples,” “apple,” “tree” and “orchard,” depending where the finger hits. While most preschoolers will be able to parse the differences among the first three with little difficulty, understanding exactly how the collective “orchard” incorporates them may not be quite so clear. Too, the tufty, inky lines found on many pages are variously identified as “grass,” “plants” and “weeds,” though there is little to distinguish the one from the other visually. Tapping the ubiquitous mouse elicits a “mouse,” a volley of squeaks and sometimes a little chime; tapping Little Critter himself brings up his name, voiced with extra enthusiasm by the child narrator. Particularly unfortunate is the cowboys-and-Indians scene, in which one child is reductively described as both “friend” and “Indian.” As vocabulary-builder, this app may muddle more than it enlightens.

By this time, both Little Critter and the “omBook” are tried-and-true brands, so there’s a feeling of sameness about both story and treatment that will reassure many children even as it, perhaps, fails to thrill their parents . (iPad storybook app. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 11, 2013


Page Count: -

Publisher: Oceanhouse Media

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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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 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.


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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