Does it soar? Occasionally it floats but not with flying colors.

PETER PAN

From the Touch of Classic series

This take on J.M. Barrie’s classic has a few navigational challenges and isn’t going to win any awards for being exceptionally artistic or innovative. But it’s pretty good for free.

Since the story needs no introduction or explanation, the best place to begin is with what’s good about this offering from Spain. The narrator is easy on the ears, and the flow is solid, though the adapted text has little magic. Some interactions are fairly noteworthy: Readers can twirl the topographic Earth while the children fly and help Peter find his shadow. Many of the pages cannot be advanced until a puzzle is solved—help Peter hide from Mrs. Darling, for example, or help Tinkerbell give the Darling children pixie dust so they can fly. The biggest plus here is that the characters are loosely based on designs created by children from ages 5 to 16. But there are a few substantial glitches too. Narration isn’t optional, and there’s no explanation on what the fairy box at the top of the screen means (or how it’s populated.) On the “paper doll” screen, where readers must dress Tinkerbell in a complete outfit before turning the page, she looks like a zombie/hoochie hybrid, which is a little disturbing. In fact, the bug eyes and rictuslike smiles that prevail throughout are pretty unpleasant from an aesthetic standpoint.

Does it soar? Occasionally it floats but not with flying colors. (iPad storybook app. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Media Minds

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2013

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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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Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way.

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THE PIGEON HAS TO GO TO SCHOOL!

From the Pigeon series

All the typical worries and excuses kids have about school are filtered through Willems’ hysterical, bus-loving Pigeon.

Told mostly in speech balloons, the bird’s monologue will have kids (and their caregivers) in stitches at Pigeon’s excuses. From already knowing everything (except whatever question readers choose to provide in response to “Go ahead—ask me a question. / Any question!”) to fearing learning too much (“My head might pop off”), Pigeon’s imagination has run wild. Readers familiar with Pigeon will recognize the muted, matte backgrounds that show off the bird’s shenanigans so well. As in previous outings, Willems varies the size of the pigeon on the page to help communicate emotion, the bird teeny small on the double-page spread that illustrates the confession that “I’m… / scared.” And Pigeon’s eight-box rant about all the perils of school (“The unknown stresses me out, dude”) is marvelously followed by the realization (complete with lightbulb thought bubble) that school is the place for students to practice, with experts, all those skills they don’t yet have. But it is the ending that is so Willems, so Pigeon, and so perfect. Pigeon’s last question is “Well, HOW am I supposed to get there, anyway!?!” Readers will readily guess both the answer and Pigeon’s reaction.

Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-04645-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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