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The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends – Play & Explore app review

Digital reproductions of beautiful watercolor-painted collages from some of Eric Carle’s most popular picture books take center stage as “3D pop-ups” in a new, colorful app, The Very Hungry CaterpillarTM & Friends – Play & Explore (StoryToys, 2014). Though this activity app for the youngest users does not contain any of Carle’s stories, readers familiar […]

Catchy titles

I was entering some new book titles into our database this morning and ran across the late, great Walter Dean Myers’s novel On a Clear Day (Crown, September 2014). Now for the last hour I’ve had Barbra Streisand in my head singing “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” from the musical and film […]

YA dragons and witches

What fantasy fan worth her salt doesn’t love a good dragon or witch story? There’s no shortage of them; but these YA novels are wholly original offerings that focus on the development of complex main characters and the subversion of traditional notions of good and evil. Teenager Nathan is a prisoner in a cage in […]

Review of This One Summer

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki; illus. by Jillian Tamaki Middle School    First Second/Roaring Brook    320 pp. 5/14    978-1-59643-774-6    $17.99 Rose Wallace and her parents go to Awago Beach every summer. Rose collects rocks on the beach, swims in the lake, and goes on bike rides with her younger “summer cottage friend,” Windy. But this […]

KidEWords app review

KidEWords (Chocolapps, 2014), an educational crossword puzzle app for kids, helps children learn words, associate images with the correct words, and improve their spelling skills. On the app’s menu page you choose the Easy, Medium, or Hard version, based on your spelling ability. Then choose a level from one to twenty (the first three in […]

To infinity and beyond!

Inquisitive intermediate readers travel into the great unknown with these four new sci-fi offerings (two of which are series openers) involving space exploration, inventions gone berserk, and UFOs. In Wendy Mass and Michael Brawer’s Space Taxi: Archie Takes Flight, eight-year-old Archie learns, on “Take Your Kid to Work Day,” that his plain old dad is […]

Ansel + Clair: American Bowl app review

Ansel + Clair: American Bowl (Cognitive Kid, 2013) brings together American history…and virtual bowling. In other Ansel + Clair apps, Ansel (an alien) and Clair (a flying robot) travel through time and space learning about Earth’s different places and eras. In American Bowl, the space duo needs your help to free fifty bald eagles from […]

52 Fun Things to Do on the Plane app review

It’s school vacation week here in Boston — which always makes me think about taking trips. The app 52 Fun Things to Do on the Plane (Oceanhouse Media and Chronicle Books, 2013), created by Lynn Gordon with illustrations by Susan Synarski and Karen Johnson, will come in handy for parents looking for activities to occupy […]

Review of Here Comes the Easter Cat

Here Comes the Easter Cat by Deborah Underwood; 
illus. by Claudia Rueda Preschool    Dial    80 pp. 1/14    978-0-8037-3939-0    $16.99    g Cat discovers an advertisement for the Easter Bunny’s arrival on the front endpapers of this witty offering, and from the very first page he is unhappy about it. The text addresses Cat directly throughout the […]

Big-city picture books

Visiting big cities can foster both excitement and anxiety. Whether young children are already well traveled or just curious about new places, these four picture books can provide them with excellent armchair tours of New York City and Europe. A little girl traveling on the subway counts from one (“1 MetroCard”) to ten (“10 friends […]