Too bad the story doesn’t match the app’s technical competence. Luckily, there are enough things to play with inside to make...

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THE TALE OF THE MISSING ACORNS

This overly cute mystery is admirable without being memorable.

Mother Squirrel, a Disney-worthy critter who wears a giant pink kerchief, loses her acorns to a burglar. Her quest to retrieve them will take her through many parts of the forest before she returns home to discover an unexpected surprise put together by her animal friends. (Spoiler: It’s a surprise party.) Kids may be enchanted by the lush artwork, in which every creature has beautiful, cuddly fur or perfectly pretty feathers. But for adults reading with them, Mother Squirrel's extended hunt soon becomes repetitious, even interminable. Much more interesting than the saccharine story is a set of story challenges, such as an exercise to divide up treats on a scale so both sides are equal in weight or a picture that's revealed by connecting letters of the alphabet. In its presentation and technical bona fides, the app soars. It has easy-to-navigate menus and doesn't trap readers on a page with an activity without allowing some sort of escape hatch to advance the story. A separate page of study activities (Numbers, Shapes, Grouping, etc.) is nicely done and varied enough to stay interesting even if each activity is limited to only a handful of problems.

Too bad the story doesn’t match the app’s technical competence. Luckily, there are enough things to play with inside to make it worth a look anyway. (iPad storybook app. 2-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: WiseKids Corporation

Review Posted Online: Jan. 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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