Although designed for the iPad, this playful text fails to take advantage of the platform, ultimately providing an only...

MONKEY AND CROC

In this simple jungle tale done as an app, Monkey and Croc are both going about their individual daily routines—but, unbeknownst to Monkey, he is quite close to becoming Croc’s next meal as their parallel routines dangerously converge.

Colorful cartoony illustrations fill each screen telling the bulk of Croc and Monkey’s story, with short textual reinforcement to make clear readers understand that as Monkey does something, Croc follows suit, including feeling hungry. Throughout, sentences are kept to just few words per page and often repeat, making this text amenable to beginning readers. Clicking the gear in the upper-left corner of all pages provides both a “read to me” setting and the option of including sound effects. The text is narrated at a reasonable, if not slow pace, and each word is highlighted as it is clearly enunciated. However, the narrator’s voice lacks variation and works against the story’s building tension. The sound effects feature a “munch, munch” effect when Croc is tapped, and, similarly, Monkey makes a stereotypical monkey sound. Despite opportunities for additional sound effects, these two sounds, which grow old quickly, are the only sounds featured.  

Although designed for the iPad, this playful text fails to take advantage of the platform, ultimately providing an only mildly amusing user experience. (iPad storybook app. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Jujubee

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited.

LET'S DANCE!

Dancing is one of the most universal elements of cultures the world over.

In onomatopoeic, rhyming text, Bolling encourages readers to dance in styles including folk dance, classical ballet, breakdancing, and line dancing. Read aloud, the zippy text will engage young children: “Tappity Tap / Fingers Snap,” reads the rhyme on the double-page spread for flamenco; “Jiggity-Jig / Zig-zag-zig” describes Irish step dancing. The ballet pages stereotypically include only children in dresses or tutus, but one of these dancers wears hijab. Overall, children included are racially diverse and vary in gender presentation. Diaz’s illustrations show her background in animated films; her active child dancers generally have the large-eyed sameness of cartoon characters. The endpapers, with shoes and musical instruments, could become a matching game with pages in the book. The dances depicted are described at the end, including kathak from India and kuku from Guinea, West Africa. Unfortunately, these explanations are quite rudimentary. Kathak dancers use their facial expressions extensively in addition to the “movements of their hands and their jingling feet,” as described in the book. Although today kuku is danced at all types of celebrations in several countries, it was once done after fishing, an activity acknowledged in the illustrations but not mentioned in the explanatory text.

The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63592-142-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Just the thing to get uncertain youngsters jazzed for a first day—at school or anywhere.

THE QUEEN OF KINDERGARTEN

Barnes and Brantley-Newton team up for a follow-up to The King of Kindergarten (2019).

From the very first page, it’s clear that young MJ Malone is ready to face the world—and school. Once Mom bestows her with a glittery tiara and dubs her the queen of kindergarten, MJ is determined to fulfill her duties—brighten up every room she enters, treat others with kindness, and offer a helping hand. Barnes infuses each page with humor and a sense of grace as the immensely likable MJ makes the most of her first day. Barnes’ prose is entertaining and heartwarming, while Brantley-Newton’s vivid and playful artwork will be easily recognizable for anyone who’s seen her work (Grandma’s Purse, 2018; Becoming Vanessa, 2021). The illustrator adds verve to the bold young heroine’s character—from the colorful barrettes to the textured appearance of her adorable denim jumper, the girl has style and substance. MJ Malone embodies the can-do spirit every parent hopes to spark in their own children, though even shy kindergarteners will gladly find a friend in her. MJ and her family are Black; her classroom is diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Just the thing to get uncertain youngsters jazzed for a first day—at school or anywhere. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 24, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-11142-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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