Kirkus Reviews QR Code
WHERE IS MILO'S BALL? by Mike Austin


by Mike Austin & illustrated by Mike Austin

Age Range: 2 - 3

Pub Date: June 25th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-60905-209-6
Publisher: Blue Apple

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)