Overall, this Little Critter app benefits from deeper interactive features as well as improved character and voice work over...

LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD

From the Little Critter series

The physical characteristics of Mayer's guinea pig–like Little Critter characters may not be evolving much, but the apps based on their books are. This 20-year-old take on the Grimm fairy tale is translated into a much richer experience than such previous iPad adaptations of his amusing storybooks as Just Grandma and Me, developed by Oceanhouse Media (2010).

While past Critter apps have been static experiences with extensive sound effects and a few passive games (trying to find hidden spiders in the illustrations, for instance), this one features more animation, smarter games (including word and picture matching) and some hilarious diversions in the story itself that aren't part of the original text. The artwork is typical—busy but filled with small jokes and witty touches—but enlivened here by sharp, expressive movement and some well-executed voice work. The Wolf, in particular, is a hiliariously hammy villain: "I believe my ears are in perfect proportion to my nose, don't you think?" he asks when questioned about his looks. "Yes, they are humongous!" Little Red Riding Hood chirps. A sidekick mouse who frequently warns about what's coming next isn't so entertaining, and page transitions are rough and erratic for such an otherwise polished production. Curiously, there's an ongoing coin-collecting game that rewards points for tapping on all items shown on the screen. It doesn't add much to the story and makes the app seem as if it's trying to be more game than story. It's not needed; the story would work fine without it, and the point tallying is distracting.

Overall, this Little Critter app benefits from deeper interactive features as well as improved character and voice work over earlier iterations. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011

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The message is worthy, but this phoned-in follow-up doesn’t add anything significant.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE SCHOOLS

From the My Purple World series

A color-themed vision of what school should be like.

In what amounts to a rehash of The World Needs More Purple People (2020), Bell and Hart address adult as well as young readers to explain what “curious and kind you” can do to make school, or for that matter the universe, a better place. Again culminating in the vague but familiar “JUST. BE. YOU!” the program remains much the same—including asking questions both “universe-sized” (“Could you make a burrito larger than a garbage truck?”) and “smaller, people-sized” (i.e., personal), working hard to learn and make things, offering praise and encouragement, speaking up and out, laughing together, and listening to others. In the illustrations, light-skinned, blond-haired narrator Penny poses amid a busy, open-mouthed, diverse cast that includes a child wearing a hijab and one who uses a wheelchair. Wiseman opts to show fewer grown-ups here, but the children are the same as in the earlier book, and a scene showing two figures blowing chocolate milk out of their noses essentially recycles a visual joke from the previous outing. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

The message is worthy, but this phoned-in follow-up doesn’t add anything significant. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43490-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE PEOPLE

A monohued tally of positive character traits.

Purple is a “magic color,” affirm the authors (both actors, though Hart’s name recognition is nowhere near the level of Bell’s), and “purple people” are the sort who ask questions, laugh wholeheartedly, work hard, freely voice feelings and opinions, help those who might “lose” their own voices in the face of unkindness, and, in sum, can “JUST BE (the real) YOU.” Unlike the obsessive protagonist of Victoria Kann’s Pinkalicious franchise, being a purple person has “nothing to do with what you look like”—a point that Wiseman underscores with scenes of exuberantly posed cartoon figures (including versions of the authors) in casual North American attire but sporting a wide range of ages, skin hues, and body types. A crowded playground at the close (no social distancing here) displays all this wholesome behavior in action. Plenty of purple highlights, plus a plethora of broad smiles and wide-open mouths, crank up the visual energy—and if the earnest overall tone doesn’t snag the attention of young audiences, a grossly literal view of the young narrator and a grandparent “snot-out-our-nose laughing” should do the trick. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.4-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22.2% of actual size.)

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12196-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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