Dr. Lilliput’s tale is much like a spoonful of sugar: sweet but not actually beneficial, unless it helps the medicine go...

DOCTOR LILLIPUT

Dr. Lilliput might make a sick child laugh, but he won’t really help readers understand what’s happening when they get a cold.

Whenever the villain Virus and his Band of Bacteria strike, the good doctor knows just what to do. Young Linus has come down with a cold, so the miniature Dr. Lilliput flies his trusty ambulance right up into Linus’ nose to battle the infection. Linus’ immune system, personified as guards trapped inside the sticky mucus, cannot fight the virus until Dr. Lilliput sets them free with squirts of saline spray. The cartoon illustrations and interactive games will draw readers into the story, but they provide humorous treatment rather than factual information. It is never quite clear how the guards battle the virus or how camomile flowers help soothe Linus’ sore throat. Fact boxes, hidden behind info buttons, do not provide enough detail to answer these and other questions. The English-accented narration is smooth, but interactions can be sluggish. In addition, an inadvertent tilt of the iPad can cause the ambulance to disappear, leaving readers unable to get it to Linus’ nose. One fact box is in German, without English translation.

Dr. Lilliput’s tale is much like a spoonful of sugar: sweet but not actually beneficial, unless it helps the medicine go down. (Requires iPad 2 and above.) (iPad storybook app. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 24, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: GESAMTKUNSTWERK Entertaiment GmbH

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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OTIS

From the Otis series

Continuing to find inspiration in the work of Virginia Lee Burton, Munro Leaf and other illustrators of the past, Long (The Little Engine That Could, 2005) offers an aw-shucks friendship tale that features a small but hardworking tractor (“putt puff puttedy chuff”) with a Little Toot–style face and a big-eared young descendant of Ferdinand the bull who gets stuck in deep, gooey mud. After the big new yellow tractor, crowds of overalls-clad locals and a red fire engine all fail to pull her out, the little tractor (who had been left behind the barn to rust after the arrival of the new tractor) comes putt-puff-puttedy-chuff-ing down the hill to entice his terrified bovine buddy successfully back to dry ground. Short on internal logic but long on creamy scenes of calf and tractor either gamboling energetically with a gaggle of McCloskey-like geese through neutral-toned fields or resting peacefully in the shade of a gnarled tree (apple, not cork), the episode will certainly draw nostalgic adults. Considering the author’s track record and influences, it may find a welcome from younger audiences too. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-399-25248-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2009

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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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