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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A simplistic take on the complex issue of Black identity in America.

WHO ARE YOUR PEOPLE?

A Black man teaches two Black children about their roots.

“Who are your people?” and “Where are you from?” These questions open the book as a man leads an unnamed boy and girl, presumably his children, into “Remembrance Park,” where they gaze up at Muhammad Ali, Maya Angelou, Stacey Abrams, and Martin Luther King Jr., who appear as cloudy apparitions in the sky. This imagery gives the misleading impression that Abrams, very much alive, is in heaven with the other figures, who are all deceased. Later on in the story, another potentially delusive illustration shows the main characters visiting a Mount Rushmore–like monument showcasing Kamala Harris alongside departed Black icons. After highlighting inspirational individuals who are not descended from people enslaved in the United States, the illustrations paradoxically depict enslaved Black Americans working in cotton fields. The portrayal of slavery is benevolent, and the images of civil rights marches and sit-ins likewise lack the necessary emotional depth. The text’s statement that “you are from the country where time moves with ease and where kindness is cherished” erases centuries of African American struggle in the face of racist violence and systemic exclusion. The book tries to instill pride in African Americans, who continue to struggle with a lack of shared identity or common experience; ultimately, it stumbles in its messaging and attempts to turn an extremely complicated, sometimes controversial topic into a warm and fuzzy picture book. All characters are Black.

A simplistic take on the complex issue of Black identity in America. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-308285-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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As ephemeral as a valentine.

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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