This straightforward app will appeal to young readers fascinated by the prehistoric period.


From the Smithsonian's Prehistoric Pals series

A prehistoric saber-toothed cat roams in search of his next meal in this introduction for preschoolers.

Based on a 2005 book-and-CD kit, this app provides basic information in a solid, if not particularly exciting, package. “Saber-Tooth Tiger opens his mighty jaws and lets out a powerful roar. His two long saber teeth are an awesome sight.” The saber-toothed tiger encounters dire wolves, a mastodon and a massive Harlan ground sloth. The gory details of the hunt are kept off-screen, making this story well-suited for preschoolers. The Oceanhouse Media platform delivers clean navigation, high-quality text support for developing readers, and good narration and sound effects. Readers can listen to the story read aloud or try to read it by themselves, tapping on individual words if they need assistance. Although there is no animation, the app effectively uses the original illustrations, supplementing the narration with dramatic sound effects. Adults will appreciate that they can easily turn off the sound effects in the easy-to-use options feature. Readers can also record their own narration. The backmatter is narrated, providing young readers with access to further information about Smilodon, the species of saber-toothed cat in this story—a nice touch.

This straightforward app will appeal to young readers fascinated by the prehistoric period. (iPad informational app. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2013


Page Count: -

Publisher: Oceanhouse Media

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning.


Children realize their dreams one step at a time in this story about growth mindset.

A child crashes and damages a new bicycle on a dark, rainy day. Attempting a wheelie, the novice cyclist falls onto the sidewalk, grimacing, and, having internalized this setback as failure, vows to never ride again but to “walk…forever.” Then the unnamed protagonist happens upon a glowing orb in the forest, a “thought rearranger-er”—a luminous pink fairy called the Magical Yet. This Yet reminds the child of past accomplishments and encourages perseverance. The second-person rhyming couplets remind readers that mistakes are part of learning and that with patience and effort, children can achieve. Readers see the protagonist learn to ride the bike before a flash-forward shows the child as a capable college graduate confidently designing a sleek new bike. This book shines with diversity: racial, ethnic, ability, and gender. The gender-indeterminate protagonist has light brown skin and exuberant curly locks; Amid the bustling secondary cast, one child uses a prosthesis, and another wears hijab. At no point in the text is the Yet defined as a metaphor for a growth mindset; adults reading with younger children will likely need to clarify this abstract lesson. The artwork is powerful and detailed—pay special attention to the endpapers that progress to show the Yet at work.

A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-02562-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion/LBYR

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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