Though the folk tale and its moral are easily recognizable, the story itself is hogwash.


A modern adaptation of "The Milkmaid and Her Pail," this classic folk tale portrays the perils of counting chickens before they’ve hatched.

Piga, a saccharine-voiced pig with decidedly anime-influenced features, is a dreamer. After milking a cow she envisions a luxuriant future. She’ll sell the milk, buy eggs, raise chickens and finally sell them so she can buy whatever her heart desires: jewels, candy and fashionable clothes. Tapping Piga and whoever happens to be with her prompts supplementary dialogue that often trips with misogynistic undertones. When drinking milk makes Piga strong, she’s portrayed as a bruiser that—according to Ponda, her male counterpart—may end up as an old maid. Piga’s parents perpetuate gender stereotypes, as well. Her ultimate goal is to be beautiful so she can secure the affection of others. She ends up spilling the milk and throws a bona fide hissy fit because her life is ruined. There are a few ho-hum interactive features, mainly revolving around eggs and chickens, but they’re disabled during autoplay. Though there’s a “read myself” option, the only way to bypass the narrator is either to turn the sound off or play back a recorded voice. The app offers two language options, English and Chinese, and a “story song” that sports slapdash lyrics, bad singing and karaoke.

Though the folk tale and its moral are easily recognizable, the story itself is hogwash. (iPad storybook app. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 16, 2012


Page Count: -

Publisher: Piga and Ponda

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.


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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The pout-pout fish, painted a suitable blue, is so named for his perpetual gloom: “I’m a pout-pout fish / With a pout-pout face, / So I spread the dreary-wearies / All over the place.” When a jellyfish complains about his “daily scaly scowl,” the glum fish agrees, but says his mood isn’t up to him. A squid, dubbing the fish “a kaleidoscope of mope,” receives the same defeatist answer, as do other sea creatures. Up to this point, the story is refreshing in that readers will no doubt recognize the pout-pout fish in their own lives, and in many cases, there’s just no cheering these people up. But the plot takes a rather unpalatable turn when a shimmery girl fish kisses the gloomster right on his pouty mouth. With that kiss, he transforms into the “kiss-kiss fish” and swims around “spreading cheery-cheeries all over the place,” meaning that he starts to smooch every creature in sight. (Don’t try this at school, kids, you’ll get suspended!) Still, there’s plenty of charm here, both in the playful language (“hulky-bulky sulking!”) and in the winning artwork—Hanna’s cartoonish undersea world swims with hilarious bug-eyed creatures that ooze personality. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 21, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-374-36096-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2008

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