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

READ REVIEW

JUST ME AND MY LITTLE BROTHER

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

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Oceanhouse Media

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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