The developers would do well to either give this app a major overhaul or put it out to pasture.

THE MUSICIANS OF BREMEN

A disappointingly flawed version of the classic Brothers Grimm tale.

The storyline in this effort sticks quite close to the original: An aging donkey, dog, cat and rooster all flee from their abusive masters. After a couple of encounters with human thieves, the animals settle in a cottage where they live happily ever after (though they never make it to Bremen). Oberdieck’s lovely illustrations are bathed in warm, muted tones, making the artwork by far the app’s greatest asset. The technological elements are almost all illogical or only marginally functional, though. There’s a story map that corresponds to numbered sections, but it takes far too long to decipher. Interaction is scant and repetitious. The most problematic issue is the “record me reading” feature. Small signs at the bottom of each screen labeled “page” and “paragraph” record the reader’s voice when tapped, but they are activated for predetermined segment lengths (which are not communicated to the reader), and there's no clear play-back control. There are a few other worthwhile elements, but they're hopelessly lost in the myriad technological and navigational quandaries.

The developers would do well to either give this app a major overhaul or put it out to pasture. (iPad storybook app. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 14, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Mark Holme

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2012

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JOHNNY APPLESEED

Though she never says outright that he was a real person, Kurtz introduces newly emergent readers to the historical John Chapman, walking along the Ohio, planting apple seeds, and bartering seedlings to settlers for food and clothing. Haverfield supplies the legendary portions of his tale, with views of a smiling, stylishly ragged, clean-shaven young man, pot on head, wildlife on shoulder or trailing along behind. Kurtz caps her short, rhythmic text with an invitation to “Clap your hands for Johnny Chapman. / Clap your hands for Johnny Appleseed!” An appealing way to open discussions of our country’s historical or legendary past. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 5-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85958-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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