The story of Morris Lessmore and his beloved books ends with an unexpected emotional punch, a satisfying, lovely finish for...


A poignant, potent ode to books (the paper kind) that combines top-notch animation, just the right amount of interactivity and a tear-jerking story.

Based on a 15-minute animated short (which can be downloaded from iTunes via a link in the app's main menu), this pitch-perfect adaptation captures much of the nuance and emotion of the source material without trying too hard to capture every beat. Morris Lessmore, who appears to be modeled after silent film–era comics like Buster Keaton, is a writer whose obsession with the written word is evident by the precariously stacked books around him. After a storm flings him from his balcony and literally blows the words off the pages of all the town's tomes, Morris finds himself wandering until he spots a woman flying through the air, carried by bird-like books. An anthropomorphic version of "Humpty Dumpty" befriends Morris and leads him to a magical library, where he'll write his own story and care for the residents there. Though the app's text is all original (the short film features no dialogue or voice over, only music), it sparkles. In the library, "The tragedies needed to be cheered up and would visit with the comedies. The Encyclopedias, weary of facts would relax with the comic books and fictions. All in all, it was an agreeable jumble." Merely adapting the story well from the film might legitimately have been enough. But the interactive elements, including a playable piano, books that speak in distinct book quotes when touched and small games, don't feel at all tacked on; they enrich the experience without detracting from the main story or disrupting its flow.

The story of Morris Lessmore and his beloved books ends with an unexpected emotional punch, a satisfying, lovely finish for an altogether winning app. (iPad storybook app. 4-12)

Pub Date: May 26, 2011


Page Count: -

Publisher: MoonBot Studios

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...


Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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Sweet, good-hearted fun.

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From the Food Group series

A recovering curmudgeon narrates life lessons in the latest entry in the punny Food Group series.

Grape wasn’t always sour, as they explain in this origin story. Grape’s arc starts with an idyllic childhood within “a close-knit bunch” in a community of “about three thousand.” The sweet-to-sour switch begins when Grape plans an elaborate birthday party to which no one shows up. Going from “sweet” to “bitter,” “snappy,” and, finally, “sour,” Grape “scowled so much that my face got all squishy.” Minor grudges become major. An aha moment occurs when a run of bad luck makes Grape three hours late for a meetup with best friend Lenny, who’s just as acidic as Grape. After the irate lemon storms off, Grape recognizes their own behavior in Lenny. Alone, Grape begins to enjoy the charms of a lovely evening. Once home, the fruit browses through a box of memorabilia, discovering that the old birthday party invitation provided the wrong date! “I realized nobody’s perfect. Not even me.” Remaining pages reverse the downturn as Grape observes that minor setbacks are easily weathered when the emphasis is on talking, listening, and working things out. Oswald’s signature illustrations depict Grape and company with big eyes and tiny limbs. The best sight gag occurs early: Grape’s grandparents are depicted as elegant raisins. The lessons are as valuable as in previous outings, and kids won’t mind the slight preachiness. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sweet, good-hearted fun. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-304541-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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