Fun? Yes. But not particularly helpful for developing vocabulary or reading skills beyond the initial level.

WHEN I GROW UP...

A bright and appealing introduction to different professions ultimately falls short of its ambitions.

Colorful illustrations showing 16 different occupations will engage young children as they think about jobs they might do when they grow up. The cartoons have a hip, trendy feel, and there is a refreshing range of nationalities, ethnicities and genders represented. While this app is designed to promote vocabulary, spelling and reading development, though, it does so with limited success. The beginning levels introduce the names of the different professions, either on autoplay loop for very young children or with limited interactivity for toddlers. Families wanting to introduce different languages will appreciate the ease of switching among six different languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Chinese and Catalan. However, the subsequent learning-to-read levels (there are five in all) progress too quickly without adequate support. New readers will have great difficulty sounding out or learning to spell words such as “entrepreneur” or “journalist.” While the “Easy spelling” level provides shadowed letters to guide children in dragging and dropping the scattered letter “tiles” to spell the occupation pictured, the next level provides no scaffolding or support. The full sentences in the final level are complex sentences inappropriate for beginning readers, especially when reading in a new language.

Fun? Yes. But not particularly helpful for developing vocabulary or reading skills beyond the initial level. (iPad informational app. 2-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 28, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Sanoen

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

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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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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