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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A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in.

AT THE OLD HAUNTED HOUSE

A Halloween book that rides on the rhythms of “Over in the Meadow.”

Although Halloween rhyming counting books abound, this stands out, with a text that begs to be read aloud and cartoony digital illustrations that add goofy appeal. A girl and two boys set off on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating. As the children leave the cozy, warm glow of their street, readers see a haunted house on a hill, with gravestones dotting the front yard. Climbing the twisty path to the dark estate takes time, so the story turns to the antics inside the house. “At the old haunted house in a room with no sun / lived a warty green witch and her wee witch one. ‘SPELL!’ cried the witch. ‘POOF!’ cried the one. / And they both practiced spells in the room with no sun.” The actions of the scary creatures within may seem odd, but the rhyme must go on: Cats scratch, goblins dust, monsters stir, and mummies mix. Eventually the three kids reach the front door and are invited in for stew, cake and brew. At first shocked by the gruesome fare, the children recover quickly and get caught up in partying with the slightly spooky but friendly menagerie.

A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4769-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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