Still, it’s a great concept, and artistic flaws notwithstanding, a fun time.

MIBBLIO

This collection of illustrated children’s songs is an interactive musical playground.

The Mibblio app itself is free and serves as a platform for individual songs available for purchase within the app ($1.99 each). Each story-song is called a “mibblet,” and it launches within an interface that features an illustrated, automated “book” that’s surrounded by interactive elements. As “On Top of Spaghetti” plays, for example, readers can single out instruments to add or subtract from the prerecorded arrangement, as well as make musical contributions of their own. All the while, the noninteractive pages scroll automatically (in silent mode, which can be selected on the home screen, the pages turn with the swipe of a finger). A brightly colored keyboard offers different options for improvisation or imitation, including a xylophone, an accordion and a violin. A panel to the right provides several rainbow-stringed instruments that readers can “strum” (swipe) along with each song, as well as percussive options. Some mibblets are old standards, like “Old MacDonald” and “The Wheels on the Bus,” while others are more obscure. The quality of each story varies. “Millie and Her Curling, Whirling Hair” for instance, has an interesting, well-told (sung?) storyline and features simple yet distinctive black-and-white illustrations. But “Superhero Vacation” and “Wibblesmacks” are awash in sloppy, shallow storytelling and graphics that look like they came out of middle school art class or somebody’s glorified clip-art library, respectively.

Still, it’s a great concept, and artistic flaws notwithstanding, a fun time. (iPad storybook app. 2-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Mibblio, Inc.

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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FROGGY GOES TO SCHOOL

Froggy's back (Froggy Learns to Swim, 1995, etc.) and on his first day of school, he wakes up late and goes to class in his underwear! No, that's only a dream—Froggy's parents wake him up just in time and they have breakfast together before leapfrogging to the bus stop. At school, Froggy gets a name tag, falls off his chair, and teaches the class—and the teacher—and the principal- -how to swim, an act that includes singing ``Bubble bubble, toot toot. Chicken, airplane, soldier.'' When his parents pick him up at the bus stop at the end of the day, they discover that he has forgotten his lunch box in school. `` `Oh, Froggy. Will you ever learn?' said his mother. `That's why I'm going to school, Mom!' '' The accessible writing has plenty of gratifying opportunities for funny sounds when read out loud, and is also endearingly wry: ``He liked his name. It was the first word he knew how to read. It was the only word he knew how to read.'' Remkiewicz's bright watercolors feature punchy, bouncy, bug-eyed animals wearing emphatically exaggerated expressions: This bunch is easy to love. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-670-86726-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1996

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