A very well-balanced offering that both educates and entertains.



Little polar bear Kodee and his friend Raccoon learn about echoes in this suitably simple storybook for preschoolers and early readers.

Nitrogen Studios—known for providing the stunning computer-generated animation in the wildly popular Thomas and Friends television/DVD franchise—has transitioned into the app market with a notable effort. It is perhaps best described as a mashup of stunning graphics, smooth animation and gentle interaction. Kodee and Raccoon hear someone yell, “Hello,” but they can’t figure out who’s saying it. After deciding the voice is coming from a nearby island, the duo sets out in the titular canoe to investigate. Readers can help them put on life jackets, summon flying fish and prompt a number of delightful movements and responses from various animals and insects. In the end, Kodee and Raccoon discover that the voices they heard were their own, and the concept of echoes is introduced. Readers are subsequently invited to make their own echoes with a record/playback feature. In addition to the app’s (optional) professional narration, various individuals can also record up to three versions of the story, which can be saved for later playback. The only downsides are an annoying pop-up triggered when leaving the echo chamber or going to the home screen that continually requests a review in the app store (the “Do not ask again” button doesn’t halt the appeals) and the fact that it will not work on iPad 1.

A very well-balanced offering that both educates and entertains. (iPad storybook app. 2-6)

Pub Date: June 30, 2012


Page Count: -

Publisher: Nitrogen Studios

Review Posted Online: Aug. 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.


A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer.


From the Peppa Pig series

Peppa hopes to join her classmates in a Halloween pumpkin competition in this adaptation of a story from the popular British television program Peppa Pig.

With the help of Granny and Grandpa Pig, Peppa turns her giant pumpkin, which is the size of a compact car, into a jack-o’-lantern. The trio is flummoxed when it comes time to transport the pumpkin to the competition, so they call on Miss Rabbit and her helicopter to airlift the pumpkin to the festivities as Peppa and her grandparents ride inside. Peppa arrives just in time for the contest and wins the prize for best flying pumpkin. The scenes look as if they are pulled directly from the television show, right down to the rectangular framing of some of the scenes. While the story is literally nothing new, the text is serviceable, describing the action in two to three sentences per page. The pumpkin-shaped book and orange foil cover will likely attract youngsters, whether they are Peppa fans or not.

This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33922-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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