Just as visually appealing as the app at first glance, and possibly even more durable—but showing considerable fall-off in...

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WHERE IS MILO'S BALL?

The blue cat that starred in the excellent app A Present for Milo (2010) makes an awful crossover from the digital domain.

Printed on extra-sturdy boards with folded (rather than glued) flaps, the episode sends Milo in search of his missing ball of string. Led by a helpful mouse, he discovers piles of yarn in various geometric shapes that, once each flap is lifted, reveal common items of the same shape. These range from a square slice of cheese to a triangular piece of pizza to a rectangular granola bar. Meanwhile, behind Milo, two other mice roll up the continual line of multicolored yarn that loops through each cartoon scene so that by the end the ball is restored. Not only is the prose numbingly wooden (“Little mouse,” says Milo, “will you help me find my ball of string?”), it is confusingly phrased. Milo rejects the square because it has “four sides,” which doesn’t distinguish it from the rectangle, and the oval egg isn’t like a ball because it’s “sort of round-ish but also long-ish.” Moreover, the concluding general romp comes off less as a resolution to the plotline than filler for the final spread. In marked contrast to his app incarnation, Milo is no more than a static presence in the art, his body shape even duplicated in some scenes rather than redrawn.

Just as visually appealing as the app at first glance, and possibly even more durable—but showing considerable fall-off in narrative quality and awareness of audience. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: June 25, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-60905-209-6

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Blue Apple

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

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This holiday ditty misses too many beats.

THE ITSY BITSY PILGRIM

From the Itsy Bitsy series

The traditional story of the first Thanksgiving is set to the tune of “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider” and stars rodents instead of humans.

The titular itsy-bitsy Pilgrim, a mouse dressed in iconic Puritan garb, sails to “a home that’s new” with three other mice on the Mayflower. They build a house, shovel snow, and greet some “itsy bitsy new friends,” who are chipmunks dressed as Native Americans complete with feathered headbands, beaded necklaces, and leather clothing. While Rescek’s art is droll and lively, it is wildly idealized, and the Native Americans’ clothing does not reflect what is understood of Wampanoag attire. The companion title, The Itsy Bitsy Reindeer, presents equally buoyant scenes. The reindeer and several elves, who appear to be white children with pointed ears, help Santa (also white) prepare for his annual sleigh-ride delivery. In both books, would-be singers may struggle to fit all the words and syllables into the meter, and a couple of rhymes are extremely forced (“shop” and “job”?).

This holiday ditty misses too many beats. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6852-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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The sparkly cover and less-than-exciting interactive elements fail to fully convey the majesty of the watery deep.

DEEP SEA DIVE

LIFT-THE-FLAP ADVENTURES

A diver directly recruits his audience to explore the salty sea.

Closed, the shaped cover follows the curve of the diver’s helmet; open, it evokes goggles through which readers can explore the deep. A variety of underwater creatures are revealed through lifting flaps; brief rhyming text on the undersides of the flaps provides a little informational heft. These rhymes are not distinguished by their lyricism, alas. “Jellyfish are pretty— / some glow in the dark. / But don't swim too close— / their sting leaves a mark.” The simply drawn creatures are not depicted to scale. The seahorse dominates its page, while the toothy shark appears shorter than the sea turtle. Two-toned blue backgrounds evoke waves. Space Walk uses an identical format to survey the planets (all eight of them) and is equally superficial.

The sparkly cover and less-than-exciting interactive elements fail to fully convey the majesty of the watery deep. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4027-8525-2

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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