By this time, both Little Critter and the “omBook” are tried-and-true brands, so there’s a feeling of sameness about both...

JUST ME AND MY LITTLE BROTHER

Oceanhouse applies its characteristically clean treatment to a Mayer standard.

As scraggly haired Little Critter relates all the cool things he will do with his little brother through the seasons, readers can tap the screen for voiced and spelled-out identification of various items in the picture. Many of these objects are crushingly obvious—“snowball,” “fence,” “basket”—but others are more nuanced. In an apple-picking scene, for instance, tapping the row of apple trees in the background yields “apples,” “apple,” “tree” and “orchard,” depending where the finger hits. While most preschoolers will be able to parse the differences among the first three with little difficulty, understanding exactly how the collective “orchard” incorporates them may not be quite so clear. Too, the tufty, inky lines found on many pages are variously identified as “grass,” “plants” and “weeds,” though there is little to distinguish the one from the other visually. Tapping the ubiquitous mouse elicits a “mouse,” a volley of squeaks and sometimes a little chime; tapping Little Critter himself brings up his name, voiced with extra enthusiasm by the child narrator. Particularly unfortunate is the cowboys-and-Indians scene, in which one child is reductively described as both “friend” and “Indian.” As vocabulary-builder, this app may muddle more than it enlightens.

By this time, both Little Critter and the “omBook” are tried-and-true brands, so there’s a feeling of sameness about both story and treatment that will reassure many children even as it, perhaps, fails to thrill their parents . (iPad storybook app. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 11, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Oceanhouse Media

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.

DRAGONS LOVE TACOS

From the Dragons Love Tacos series

The perfect book for kids who love dragons and mild tacos.

Rubin’s story starts with an incantatory edge: “Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.” The playing field is set: dragons, tacos. As a pairing, they are fairly silly, and when the kicker comes in—that dragons hate spicy salsa, which ignites their inner fireworks—the silliness is sillier still. Second nature, after all, is for dragons to blow flames out their noses. So when the kid throws a taco party for the dragons, it seems a weak device that the clearly labeled “totally mild” salsa comes with spicy jalapenos in the fine print, prompting the dragons to burn down the house, resulting in a barn-raising at which more tacos are served. Harmless, but if there is a parable hidden in the dragon-taco tale, it is hidden in the unlit deep, and as a measure of lunacy, bridled or unbridled, it doesn’t make the leap into the outer reaches of imagination. Salmieri’s artwork is fitting, with a crabbed, ethereal line work reminiscent of Peter Sís, but the story does not offer it enough range.

A wandering effort, happy but pointless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3680-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool.

PETE THE KITTY'S FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL

From the Pete the Cat series

The popular character enjoys storytime, painting, and a snack on the very first day of preschool.

The younger incarnation of Pete the Cat packs his backpack that he picked out from the store himself, gets a snack from his mom, and rides the school bus with his big brother, Bob (who isn’t much bigger than Pete, sizewise). At school, Pete meets his stylish teacher, Mrs. Lopez, and fellow feline classmates while keeping his signature cool. The day ends with Pete declaring: “Preschool is awesome! Pete loves everything!” James Dean’s big-eyed cats populate the simply drawn scenes that look as though they were painted in preschool-esque fashion with thick swaths of tempera. At a couple of moments (when he eats his banana and declares it tasty and when he sings along) his customarily expressionless face actually breaks into a smile. Kimberly Dean’s text is uninspired, but it’s in sync with the upbeat tone of the series. Pete’s preschool experience, while not particularly realistic, is a highly positive one; refreshingly, there is no trace of the separation anxiety or anxiousness found in many first-day-of-school books.

Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06243582-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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