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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MY LUCKY DAY

It’s become predictable, this story of the pig outfoxing the fox, but Kasza’s version does sport his lively art and a measure of dry humor. When a piglet comes knocking on Mr. Fox’s door, the fox can’t believe his luck; he’s not used to delivery service. The piglet is just about to be tucked in the oven, when he suggests a few improvements to Mr. Fox. Wouldn’t he taste better if he were washed first—“Just a thought, Mr. Fox”—and plumped up and perhaps massaged to tenderize the meat? The fox agrees that he would, rushing madly about scrubbing, feeding, and working the piglet’s tissues, and promptly falling into an exhausted swoon. The pig is last seen back in his pen, thumbing through his address book—Mr. Bear, Mr. Wolf, Mr. Coyote—getting ready to work the same ruse on another carnivore. Fun enough, though no self-respecting four-year-old will be very worried about this little porker’s fate. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-399-23874-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2003

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There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow...

THE BOOK HOG

A porcine hoarder of books learns to read—and to share.

The Book Hog’s obsession is clear from the start. Short declarative sentences describe his enthusiasm (“The Book Hog loved books”), catalog the things he likes about the printed page, and eventually reveal his embarrassing secret (“He didn’t know how to read”). While the text is straightforward, plenty of amusing visual details will entertain young listeners. A picture of the Book Hog thumbing through a book while seated on the toilet should induce some giggles. The allusive name of a local bookshop (“Wilbur’s”) as well as the covers of a variety of familiar and much-loved books (including some of the author’s own) offer plenty to pore over. And the fact that the titles become legible only after our hero learns to read is a particularly nice touch. A combination of vignettes, single-page illustrations and double-page spreads that feature Pizzoli’s characteristic style—heavy black outlines, a limited palette of mostly salmon and mint green, and simple shapes—move the plot along briskly. Librarians will appreciate the positive portrayal of Miss Olive, an elephant who welcomes the Book Hog warmly to storytime, though it’s unlikely most will be able to match her superlative level of service.

There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow bibliophiles, and the author’s fans will enjoy making another anthropomorphic animal friend. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-03689-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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