What this app lacks in originality it makes up for in cuddly familiarity. Bear enchants, even wordlessly, and is coming into...

THE VERY ITCHY BEAR

Employing similar techniques as The Very Hungry Bear (2012), which features the same titular ursine, this story about a persistent flea offers flashes of humor and a neat lesson about scale.

Big, brown Bear must deal with an unwelcome companion, a freeloader named Flea, who is "about to bite, / but not because he's impolite." Using effective snippets of animation, broad sound effects and a neat technical trick of zooming in and out on the tiny Flea when he's tapped, the app is invitingly playful. The illustrations are comical and well-detailed, even if the animation, as in the previous app, feels a little erratic and bouncy. Sometimes the zooming feature requires a bit of work to activate. But Bear's expressions continue to be priceless, and the floating-objects-on-water effects when he lands in the sea are impressive. In fact, a bonus game at the end of the story allows players to build a boat and then sail it on that body of water, a variation on the igloo-building feature of the earlier title. While the app doesn't feel particularly new, the story wraps up nicely with Bear and bitty Flea becoming friends after a rescue.

What this app lacks in originality it makes up for in cuddly familiarity. Bear enchants, even wordlessly, and is coming into his own as an app star young readers will be happy to see again. (iPad storybook app. 2-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Wheelbarrow

Review Posted Online: Oct. 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2012

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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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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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