Initially miffed at having his nap disturbed by a brisk, cheery yellow bird, Rocket soon falls under her spell. She reads...

READ REVIEW

HOW ROCKET LEARNED TO READ

From the Rocket series

A digital version of a 2010 tree-book about a small dog set on the road to reading by a clever avian educator.

Initially miffed at having his nap disturbed by a brisk, cheery yellow bird, Rocket soon falls under her spell. She reads stories and then shows him how to put letters of the “wondrous, mighty, gorgeous alphabet” together into simple words. After she flies away in the fall, he keeps up his skills by tracing letters in the snow and sounding out words (“C-O-L-D”; “M-E-L-T”) until Spring brings both “M-U-D” (smearable with a fingertip over the whole screen) and a joyful reunion. Rocket’s extreme cuteness in the bright, simple illustrations is underscored by touch-activated tail wags and fetching cocks of the head, along with other small animations. The (optional) narrator, actor Hope Davis, reads in a deliberate, even-toned way, and as she does, each word of the text is highlighted—and whether or not the “Read to Me” track is selected, she pronounces any word or letter on the screen that is tapped. Along with the story itself, the app includes an author’s bio with a slide show and two literacy-building games for newly fledged readers. Some glitches need working out: The app is slow to load, continues to run when the tablet is locked and cannot be paged back from the final credits. Still, the added and interactive features are enhancements rather than distractions.

Pub Date: Jan. 21, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Random House Digital

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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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