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Sago Mini Babies Dress Up


Sago Mini Babies Dress Up (Sago Sago, August 2016; iOS only) invites preschoolers to play dress-up with four cute — and familiar to Sago Sago fans — animal characters. The app opens with bird Robin, bunny Jack, cat Jinja, and dog Harvey sitting on porch steps. Given that it’s close to Halloween, it’s just slightly […]

Monster mash


What goes bump in the night? Maybe it’s a monster, but maybe it’s a new friend — or maybe it’s both! These monstrously silly picture books are perfect treats for a Halloween story time. In Monica Brown’s Marisol McDonald and the Monster / Marisol McDonald y el monstruo, the little-girl protagonist explores words beginning with […]

Plum’s Creaturizer app review


It’s that (internet) age-old problem: if kids are staring at screens, they aren’t playing outside. PBS Kids’s Plum’s Creaturizer app (2015; iOS and Android), follow-up to the Plum’s Photo Hunt app, attempts to combine techie-fun, some very early science, and outdoor play. According to the “For Parents” section, its aim is to help children “develop […]

Review of King Baby


King Baby by Kate Beaton; illus. by the author Preschool    Levine/Scholastic    40 pp. 10/16    978-0-545-63754-1    $17.99    g Heavy is the head that wears the crown, but this ruler can’t yet support his own neck. A king (really a newborn baby) greets his loyal subjects (really relatives and friends of the family): “I am King Baby!…I […]

Review of Owl Sees Owl


Owl Sees Owl by Laura Godwin; 
illus. by Rob Dunlavey Preschool, Primary    Schwartz & Wade/Random    40 pp. 9/16    978-0-553-49782-3    $17.99    g In this elegantly simple picture book, a little owl leaves its nest and flies out into the deep blue night of the forest. Each double-page spread has just four words, each on a separate […]

Picture books for International Day of Peace


Today is the UN’s International Day of Peace, an annual day “devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.” Celebrate — and share a hope for peace for all — by reading these picture books about compassion, community, and interconnectedness with a child in your life. All were […]

Review of Rescue Squad No. 9


Rescue Squad No. 9 by Mike Austin; illus. by the author Preschool    Random    40 pp. 9/16    978-1-101-93662-7    $16.99    g As in Fire Engine No. 9 (rev. 9/15), Austin live-streams an intense rescue mission, immediately pulling readers into the action. His dynamic illustrations and forceful text are skillfully incorporated in a propulsive, left-to-right design that telegraphs […]

Melody Jams app review


Similar in structure to Toca Boca’s Toca Band (but both a little less substantial and a little less…out there), Melody Jams (Melody Jams Inc., April 2016; iOS only) lets you rock out with your own hand-picked backup band. Fill up to five band spots by selecting from twelve monster musicians on instruments such as guitar, […]

Books behaving badly


Some books sit quietly and do what they’re told. Others seem to have minds of their own. The following picture books feature picture books themselves as the stars of the show. Ben, Bella, and Bella’s dog star in a new book — This Book Is Out of Control! — which is no better behaved than […]

Nursery Rhymes with StoryTime app review


Classic nursery rhymes meet interactive twenty-first-century technology in the Nursery Rhymes with StoryTime app (ustwo, 2011). Beginning with “Jack and Jill,” children can read and/or hear eight nursery rhymes and manipulate the characters and their props, sometimes in humorous ways — for example, swipe that pail of water up the well and a fish pops […]