This storybook app isn’t breaking any new ground, but it’s a solid effort that will undoubtedly stimulate more than a few...

ROXIE'S DOORS

A seek-and-find scavenger hunt encourages readers to explore what lies behind various doors.

This interactive adaptation of Munro’s 2004 print release, Doors, appears to be identical to its predecessor in terms of rhyme, artwork and concept. But the interactive digital interface adds to the appeal by providing a plethora of sound effects and more than 100 animated and/or interactive objects. Children can tap, swipe and tilt the tablet to reveal hidden items that are mentioned in the text. Some things yield a particular sound (a whining dog, creaking cabinet hinges, the flush of a toilet), while others simply offer a short glissando to alert readers that they’ve found one of the hidden treasures. Children can explore a wide variety of locations, including a fire station, a train compartment, a horse stable, a doctor’s office and a well-stocked refrigerator, to name only a few. There are three narrative options: voiced either by a male or female reader, or narration can be completely turned off (for those who wish to read the story themselves). Sound effects can be switched on and off separately, and a pull-down menu offers easy access to individual pages as well as narrative and sound options.

This storybook app isn’t breaking any new ground, but it’s a solid effort that will undoubtedly stimulate more than a few curious little minds. (iPad storybook app. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 24, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: OCG Studios

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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