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Picture Books for International Day of Peace

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 […]

Review of Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn

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Goodbye Summer, 
Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak; illus. by the author Preschool    Holt    32 pp. 8/16    978-1-62779-415-2    $17.99    g “Hello, late summer morning,” says a young girl in a red scarf as she leaves her house on a double-page spread suffused in soft greens. She greets the trees, a variety of animals, flowers, thunder, and […]

DreamWorks Shrek & Friends app review

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A simple, drag-and-drop app, DreamWorks Shrek & Friends (DreamWorks and Fox & Sheep, July 2016) invites you to get toddler-aged versions of six different DreamWorks characters ready for their day. The app opens with some very familiar typeface (hint, it’s green with ears) and moves directly into a colorful, early morning cityscape, complete with gentle […]

Sago Mini Boats app review

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I took Harvey the dog out in a pickle boat and made him seasick. And how was your day? At the beginning of Sago Mini Boats (2015), you choose a destination for Harvey — and a friend to welcome him — and get packing. You can choose to put clothes and snacks into the suitcase […]

Recommended School Stories: Picture Books

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Bean, Jonathan This Is My Home, This Is My School 48 pp. Farrar 2015. ISBN 978-0-374-38020-5 The boy from Building Our House welcomes readers back into his home — and school. Our narrator — the author/illustrator’s stand-in — gives a whirlwind tour of homeschooling life, and the warmhearted, cheerfully cluttered illustrations show how home and […]

LumiKids Park app review

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LumiKids Park (2015) is part of Lumos Labs’ series of “digital playspace[s] for kids to explore concepts through intuitive and adaptive activities.” Each of the four apps (so far; see our reviews of Snow, Backyard, and Beach) present different concepts to develop different cognitive skills. Park focuses specifically on visual-motor coordination, sorting, and attention. As […]