The $6.99 price tag may cause a little sticker shock, but endearing characters, creative interaction and Willems’...


From the Pigeon series

A puerile pigeon pesters and pleads to get what he wants.

Caldecott Honoree Willems makes a solid app debut with this Mad-Libs–style interactive story. Fans of his traditional Pigeon books will be delighted to see the pigeon and the bus driver come to life, as they are personable, quirky and highly entertaining. The story begins with the bus driver soliciting help to construct the narrative. In “egg” mode, interchangeable nouns are randomized and the story is fully automated. In “chick” mode, the bus driver offers multiple-choice options that rotate with every launch. In “pigeon” mode, readers can record their own responses, which in turn will be added to the narrative. After appropriate selections have been made, the pigeon appears. Once “shaken” he asks permission to do something—run this app, wear purple underwear, borrow your cell phone, etc.—and each time, a chorus of children shouts “NO!” Not to be deterred, the pigeon begs, offers bribes and finally throws a hissy fit—all to no avail. Navigation is breezy, interaction and audio are spot-on and Willems even offers a step-by-step drawing lesson. Up to six “favorite” recorded versions can be saved for repeat reading.

The $6.99 price tag may cause a little sticker shock, but endearing characters, creative interaction and Willems’ idiosyncratic storytelling make this app worth the splurge. (iPad storybook app. 2-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2011


Page Count: -

Publisher: Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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


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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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.


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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