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Squiggles! app review

Squiggles menu

At first glance, the premise of the Lazoo Squiggles! (August 2012) app sounded as if it might be interesting for about ten minutes, tops: draw squiggles to make cars go fast, rockets zoom into space, clouds rain, and flowers grow. After a thirty-minute first glance, however, I realized the creators are more imaginative than I […]

Monkeying around with preschoolers

Two Little Monkeys

Preschoolers + animal tales = story-time success. Here are four new books that add up to silly fun for both group sharing and bedtime reading. In Mem Fox’s Two Little Monkeys, Cheeky and Chee are happily playing on the savanna until—“something’s prowling— / what could it be?” Off they dash up a “big old tree.” […]

Review editing punchiness

cordially uninvited

We are down to the wire at the Horn Book Guide, madly trying to finish editing reviews for the fall 2012 issue (due out in October) for an early August deadline. In other words, we are punchy. When we noticed the name of the eleven-year-old main character of Cordially Uninvited, Jennifer Roy’s ripped-from-People-magazine-headlines novel about […]

Review of A Bus Called Heaven

A Bus Called Heaven

A Bus Called Heaven by Bob Graham; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    40 pp. 3/12    978-0-7636-5893-9    $16.99 “The bus brought change to Stella’s street…Stella changed, too.” It’s quiet, pale Stella who takes her thumb out of her mouth and steps onto the bus that has been abandoned outside her house, claiming it for […]

“In the air…” and “On the water…”

planes app 2

It’s Byron Barton’s Planes (March) and Boats (April) in app format from Oceanhouse Media and HarperCollins. Matching the books’ engaging simplicity and directness, both apps enhance the print versions without distracting users with over-the-top interactive elements. The text is read by an enthusiastic narrator, whether the sound is on or off. If you choose to […]

Preschool books you’ve been waiting for

Olivier Dunrea "Gideon & Otto"

Two of these picture book “sequels” feature old friends, two introduce a new friend into a familiar setting, and one keeps on truckin’ with a popular subject. All five will be eagerly greeted by their preschool fans. Olivier Dunrea welcomes a new gosling to his series of books that began with Gossie and Gossie & […]

What’s in the box?

Horn Book Guide cover, Spring 2012

Reviews of 2159 children’s hardcover titles published between July and December 2011, that’s what. The spring 2012 issue of The Horn Book Guide is out and ready for you. Subscribe online or email: call: 877 523 6072  (outside the U.S. 515-242-0297) fax: 712 733 1277 You can also find these reviews, plus over 85,000 more […]

Review of The Duckling Gets a Cookie!?

The Duckling Gets a Cookie!?

The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems; illus. by the author Preschool    Hyperion    40 pp. 4/12    978-1-4231-5128-9    $15.99 In this seventh Pigeon book — the first in four years (The Pigeon Wants a Puppy! rev. 7/08) — the Duckling asks politely for a cookie and gets one: “Thanks! That was very nice of you!” […]

Story smorgasbord


“If you could go anywhere, where would you go?” The sky’s the limit in Nick Sharratt and Pippa Goodhart’s You Choose (Kane Miller, March), an interactive book (originally published in the U.K. in 2003) where kids call the shots in their own narrative. Sharratt’s bright and friendly cartoon illustrations invite readers into pages filled with […]

Miss Teen Dreamers! “I’ve got a little bit of bad news…”

bray_beauty queens

“Everyone else is dead.” May I proselytize for a moment? If you’re reading this post, you absolutely must listen to the audiobook version of Beauty Queens (Scholastic Audio, 2011) written and read brilliantly by Libba Bray. Believe me, it will make your life worth living, your hair luxurious, and your skin blemish-free. It will also […]