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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THE POUT-POUT FISH

The pout-pout fish, painted a suitable blue, is so named for his perpetual gloom: “I’m a pout-pout fish / With a pout-pout face, / So I spread the dreary-wearies / All over the place.” When a jellyfish complains about his “daily scaly scowl,” the glum fish agrees, but says his mood isn’t up to him. A squid, dubbing the fish “a kaleidoscope of mope,” receives the same defeatist answer, as do other sea creatures. Up to this point, the story is refreshing in that readers will no doubt recognize the pout-pout fish in their own lives, and in many cases, there’s just no cheering these people up. But the plot takes a rather unpalatable turn when a shimmery girl fish kisses the gloomster right on his pouty mouth. With that kiss, he transforms into the “kiss-kiss fish” and swims around “spreading cheery-cheeries all over the place,” meaning that he starts to smooch every creature in sight. (Don’t try this at school, kids, you’ll get suspended!) Still, there’s plenty of charm here, both in the playful language (“hulky-bulky sulking!”) and in the winning artwork—Hanna’s cartoonish undersea world swims with hilarious bug-eyed creatures that ooze personality. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 21, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-374-36096-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2008

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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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