It's too early to tell if the running joke of Millie's outsized adventures will get old, but at least in this first set of...

MILLIE & THE LOST KEY

From the Millie Was Here series

A new app series that combines several genres and styles to create a doggie adventure that feels fresh, Millie Was Here is off to a fetching start with a free preview—Meet Millie—and this separate full-length story.

Millie is a globe-trotting adventurer—though you would probably never know it if the mundane photos she's featured in hadn't been modified to put her on computer-generated planes or facing real-life boats with pasted-in pirate flags. The entire story is like that: overheated narration and text juxtaposed with otherwise plain dog-about-town pictures. "The island was dark and mysterious," the narrator intones as the fluffy black-and-white lapdog stands, leashed, in a pleasant urban park. But the trick works because the app is designed so well and has a sense of humor. It offers surprises on every page, from pull tabs that reveal hidden treasures to scratch-off games and hidden collectible cards. Though Millie's quest for the Lost Key to Endless Bacon feels a bit longer than necessary at 22 pages, the clever touches throughout, such as a stuffed animal who that is Millie's evil archenemy, are amusing and well-executed. Sound design, navigation and music are all high-quality, and a "Bedtime Mode" option that lowers the volume and dims the screen for nighttime reading is a welcome feature.

It's too early to tell if the running joke of Millie's outsized adventures will get old, but at least in this first set of apps, Millie more than earns whatever kibble App Store sales may provide for her. (iPad storybook app. 4-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: MegaPops

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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Empathetic art and lyrical text blend for a touching and empowering tale.

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AARON SLATER, ILLUSTRATOR

From the Questioneers series

The latest book in the Questioneer series centers an African American boy who has dyslexia.

Roberts’ characteristic cartoon illustrations open on a family of six that includes two mothers of color, children of various abilities and racial presentations, and two very amused cats. In a style more expressive and stirring than other books in the series, Beaty presents a boy overcoming insecurities related to reading comprehension. Like Harlem Renaissance artist Aaron Douglas, the boy’s namesake, the protagonist loves to draw. More than drawing, however, young Aaron wishes to write, but when he tries to read, the letters appear scrambled (effectively illustrated with a string of wobbly, often backward letters that trail across the pages). The child retreats into drawing. After an entire school year of struggle, Aaron decides to just “blend in.” At the beginning of the next school year, a writing prompt from a new teacher inspires Aaron, who spends his evening attempting to write “a story. Write something true.” The next day in class, having failed to put words on paper, Aaron finds his voice and launches into a story that shows how “beauty and kindness and loving and art / lend courage to all with a welcoming heart.” In the illustration, a tableau of colorful mythological beings embodies Aaron’s tale. The text is set in a dyslexia-friendly type. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Empathetic art and lyrical text blend for a touching and empowering tale. (author's note, illustrator's note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5396-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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A deliciously sweet reminder to try one’s unique best.

THE SMART COOKIE

From the Food Group series

This smart cookie wasn’t alwaysa smart cookie.

At the corner of Sweet Street stands a bakery, which a whole range of buns and cakes and treats calls home, including a small cookie who “didn’t feel comfortable speaking up or sharing” any ideas once upon a time. During the early days of gingerbread school, this cookie (with sprinkles on its top half, above its wide eyes and tiny, smiling mouth) never got the best grades, didn’t raise a hand to answer questions, and almost always finished most tests last, despite all best efforts. As a result, the cookie would worry away the nights inside of a cookie jar. Then one day, kind Ms. Biscotti assigns some homework that asks everyone “to create something completely original.” What to do? The cookie’s first attempts (baking, building a birdhouse, sculpting) fail, but an idea strikes soon enough. “A poem!” Titling its opus “My Crumby Days,” the budding cookie poet writes and writes until done. “AHA!” When the time arrives to share the poem with the class, this cookie learns that there’s more than one way to be smart. John and Oswald’s latest installment in the hilarious Food Group series continues to provide plenty of belly laughs (thanks to puns galore!) and mini buns of wisdom in a wholly effervescent package. Oswald’s artwork retains its playful, colorful creative streak. Although slightly less effective than its predecessors due to its rather broad message, this one’s nonetheless an excellent addition to the menu.(This book was reviewed digitally.)

A deliciously sweet reminder to try one’s unique best. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-304540-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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