An insipid rendition, with a stingy assortment of anemic interactive features.


A prim, Grimm tale in which two characters receive their respective just deserts for industry and laziness is poorly served by bland illustrations and clumsy design.

Forced down a well to recover a dropped spindle, the beautiful and hardworking stepdaughter (“the Cinderella of the family”) rescues burning cakes and shakes a tree full of ripe apples. She then so pleases long-toothed old Mother Holle with her housework that she receives a shower of gold. Her ugly, lazy stepsister leaps down the well in hopes of a similar prize but behaves badly and instead earns a shower of “tar” that “stuck to her as long as she lived.” Lightly edited from 19th-century translations, the text is complete but appears on each screen only piecemeal and in varied sizes before coming to a sudden, jarring close. Though Mother Holle’s teeth look disquietingly like vampire fangs, the other women are rendered in a twee style, with flowing dresses on undersized bodies and fixed expressions beneath big, disheveled hair. Animations are both rare and strictly minor league, and the touch-activated ones too often effect premature page turns by accident. Semi-transparent icons on each screen control the sonic-wallpaper background music and offer an optional, mannered audio reading either with visible text and manual advance or in a text-free auto-advance mode; .

An insipid rendition, with a stingy assortment of anemic interactive features. (iPad storybook app. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2011


Page Count: -

Publisher: Imagination Stairs

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Amusing but a little off tempo.


It’s important to hit all the right notes.

A tan-skinned musical composer with puffy black hair is busy at work on his next musical masterpiece when Half Note, a music symbol denoting two beats, feels unappreciated. Half Note is jealous of the more commonly used Quarter Note (one beat) and Eighth Note. Although the other musical symbols attempt to calm and comfort Half Note, she decides to run away. The next day, Composer needs Half Note and panics when he realizes that she’s gone. The other notes and musical symbols try to find her, but it’s only when they try to play her favorite song, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” without her—with terrible results—that she comes running back. The story’s humor—which is largely based on “dad joke” puns—is completely dependent on readers’ musical knowledge. The artwork, a mix of acrylic and colored pencil, attempts to add some allegrezza to the piece, and while it’s not unsuccessful, it’s facing an uphill battle. Music teachers and musically minded caregivers may find some value in this story, but it will likely be too specialized for general readers. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Amusing but a little off tempo. (glossary) (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 14, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-64567-631-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2023

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A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off.


This rocket hopes to take its readers on a birthday blast—but there may or may not be enough fuel.

Once a year, a one-seat rocket shoots out from Earth. Why? To reveal a special congratulatory banner for a once-a-year event. The second-person narration puts readers in the pilot’s seat and, through a (mostly) ballad-stanza rhyme scheme (abcb), sends them on a journey toward the sun, past meteors, and into the Kuiper belt. The final pages include additional information on how birthdays are measured against the Earth’s rotations around the sun. Collingridge aims for the stars with this title, and he mostly succeeds. The rhyme scheme flows smoothly, which will make listeners happy, but the illustrations (possibly a combination of paint with digital enhancements) may leave the viewers feeling a little cold. The pilot is seen only with a 1960s-style fishbowl helmet that completely obscures the face, gender, and race by reflecting the interior of the rocket ship. This may allow readers/listeners to picture themselves in the role, but it also may divest them of any emotional connection to the story. The last pages—the backside of a triple-gatefold spread—label the planets and include Pluto. While Pluto is correctly labeled as a dwarf planet, it’s an unusual choice to include it but not the other dwarfs: Ceres, Eris, etc. The illustration also neglects to include the asteroid belt or any of the solar system’s moons.

A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-18949-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: David Fickling/Phoenix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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