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Not useful for reference, though an enticing plaything for younger armchair travelers.

Animations and clever enhancements give this elementary atlas more flash than its print version (2011), but the content remains skimpy and poorly organized.

Built around a really quite cool cartoon globe that can be rotated at will, the app allows viewers to zoom in on any area or country. A tap opens a fact box that contains an animated national flag, basic information such as land area, capital city and (with location settings turned on) “Distance From Me.” There are also a handful of environmental facts such as average CO2 emissions per head and current weather (presumably in said capital). Audio narration and a snatch of localized music are optionally available as well. Alternatively, countries or world regions can also be selected through searchable lists linked to a corner icon or visited alphabetically using arrows at the bottom. In addition, tapping on any of the dozens of small buildings, flora or fauna, objects and human figures that festoon the globe opens a box with a link to a photo and an assortment of facts, albeit not always clearly presented ones. The “Brahman cattle” icon, for instance, indicates that though they are "[o]riginally from India, these cattle are now popular around the world," without explaining exactly why it's wandering across Brazil. There are no political boundaries except for country borders, and those are hard to find even at full zoom.

Not useful for reference, though an enticing plaything for younger armchair travelers. (iPad informational app. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 2012


Page Count: -

Publisher: Barefoot Books

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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From the Otis series

Continuing to find inspiration in the work of Virginia Lee Burton, Munro Leaf and other illustrators of the past, Long (The Little Engine That Could, 2005) offers an aw-shucks friendship tale that features a small but hardworking tractor (“putt puff puttedy chuff”) with a Little Toot–style face and a big-eared young descendant of Ferdinand the bull who gets stuck in deep, gooey mud. After the big new yellow tractor, crowds of overalls-clad locals and a red fire engine all fail to pull her out, the little tractor (who had been left behind the barn to rust after the arrival of the new tractor) comes putt-puff-puttedy-chuff-ing down the hill to entice his terrified bovine buddy successfully back to dry ground. Short on internal logic but long on creamy scenes of calf and tractor either gamboling energetically with a gaggle of McCloskey-like geese through neutral-toned fields or resting peacefully in the shade of a gnarled tree (apple, not cork), the episode will certainly draw nostalgic adults. Considering the author’s track record and influences, it may find a welcome from younger audiences too. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-399-25248-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2009

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Though told by two outsiders to the culture, this timely and well-crafted story will educate readers on the preciousness of...

An international story tackles a serious global issue with Reynolds’ characteristic visual whimsy.

Gie Gie—aka Princess Gie Gie—lives with her parents in Burkina Faso. In her kingdom under “the African sky, so wild and so close,” she can tame wild dogs with her song and make grass sway, but despite grand attempts, she can neither bring the water closer to home nor make it clean. French words such as “maintenant!” (now!) and “maman” (mother) and local color like the karite tree and shea nuts place the story in a French-speaking African country. Every morning, Gie Gie and her mother perch rings of cloth and large clay pots on their heads and walk miles to the nearest well to fetch murky, brown water. The story is inspired by model Georgie Badiel, who founded the Georgie Badiel Foundation to make clean water accessible to West Africans. The details in Reynolds’ expressive illustrations highlight the beauty of the West African landscape and of Princess Gie Gie, with her cornrowed and beaded hair, but will also help readers understand that everyone needs clean water—from the children of Burkina Faso to the children of Flint, Michigan.

Though told by two outsiders to the culture, this timely and well-crafted story will educate readers on the preciousness of potable water. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-17258-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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