Nevertheless, it’s a tasteful and loving adaptation; those who love the original book will find much to admire here.

ON THE NIGHT YOU WERE BORN

A digital adaptation of the New York Times best-seller.

The iPad version of Tillman’s popular picture book has a lot going for it. First and foremost, her lush illustrations shine on the tablet screen. Second, Auryn, a developer that’s known for turning out unique, inventive storybook apps, is at the technological helm. They have embedded so many interactions, in fact, that they might overwhelm readers. For example, there are options to record a voice-over of the entire story or provide personalized, page-by-page “whispers” for the moon to utter, but the setup for the latter is rather cumbersome. Kids will love hearing characters occasionally speak their names (which are recorded at the outset). But when the software changes the vocal frequency for various animals, at times it sounds eerily similar to Darth Vader. Still, Auryn hits it out of the park when swarms of birds, ladybugs and glowing lanterns rise to spell out the child’s name. It’s spectacular. And there are other cool components, such as a scrapbook feature that allows for the storage of up to six homespun videos. Advancing pages is counterintuitive (the compulsory index scrolls upward) and exceptionally slow, if also extremely beautiful in the transitions.

Nevertheless, it’s a tasteful and loving adaptation; those who love the original book will find much to admire here. (Requires iOS 6 and above.) (iPad storybook app. 2-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Auryn

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.

DRAGONS LOVE TACOS

From the Dragons Love Tacos series

The perfect book for kids who love dragons and mild tacos.

Rubin’s story starts with an incantatory edge: “Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.” The playing field is set: dragons, tacos. As a pairing, they are fairly silly, and when the kicker comes in—that dragons hate spicy salsa, which ignites their inner fireworks—the silliness is sillier still. Second nature, after all, is for dragons to blow flames out their noses. So when the kid throws a taco party for the dragons, it seems a weak device that the clearly labeled “totally mild” salsa comes with spicy jalapenos in the fine print, prompting the dragons to burn down the house, resulting in a barn-raising at which more tacos are served. Harmless, but if there is a parable hidden in the dragon-taco tale, it is hidden in the unlit deep, and as a measure of lunacy, bridled or unbridled, it doesn’t make the leap into the outer reaches of imagination. Salmieri’s artwork is fitting, with a crabbed, ethereal line work reminiscent of Peter Sís, but the story does not offer it enough range.

A wandering effort, happy but pointless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3680-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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