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Busy Shapes app review

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Busy Shapes (Edoki Academy, 2014; iOS only) is an engaging sorting and problem-solving app based on the work of education expert Jean Piaget. The app begins with a simple matching exercise: drag a shape to the same-shaped hole and drop it in. These brightly colored shapes represent physical objects such as blocks, sponges, flowers, and […]

The wonders of winter

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From joyful treks through gently drifting snow to the aftermath of a storm to suspenseful adventures in the icy wilderness, these picture books show many meteorological (and emotional) facets of winter. In First Snow by Bomi Park, a small child takes a dreamlike nighttime walk through the snow with her puppy. She makes her way […]

Review of Cat on the Bus

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Cat on the Bus by Aram Kim; illus. by the author Preschool    Holiday    32 pp. 10/16    978-0-8234-3647-7    $16.95 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-3710-8    $16.95 Paw prints cross the opening endpapers, and the title page gives a preview of what will eventually happen as a contented kitty sips milk beside a delighted-looking child. But before that, the calico […]

Little Kitten app review

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I admit, I am a total sucker for all things cat-related. But Fox & Sheep’s new app Little Kitten (Fox & Sheep in partnership with Squeakosaurus, January 2017; iOS only) has a lot going for it besides the cute-kitty factor. A brief (and optional) wordless video introduces our hero, a gray tabby kitten left on […]

Review of Egg

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 Egg by Kevin Henkes; illus. by the author Preschool    Greenwillow    40 pp. 1/17    978-0-06-240872-3    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-06-240873-0    $18.89    g In the latest offering from modern picture-book master Henkes (Waiting, rev. 9/15), we are introduced to four different eggs, each a different pastel color and each occupying its own separate quadrant of the page: “egg / […]

Recommended Picture Books: Metafictive Picture Books

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Barnett, Mac  How This Book Was Made: Based on a True Story Gr. K–3     48 pp.     Disney/Hyperion Illustrated by Adam Rex. Barnett and Rex tongue-in-cheekily describe the process of creating a book. “Ideas can come at funny times,” muses Barnett, shown as a cartoon character arm-wrestling a tiger. It only gets wackier from there, as […]

Recommended Picture Books: Wordless Picture Books

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Becker, Aaron  Return Gr. K–3    40 pp.     Candlewick This third wordless installment (Journey; Quest) brings the story full circle. The father of the lonely girl with a red crayon follows her into the steampunk-meets-fantasy kingdom to share in the adventure. Becker is at his best creating lush, mysterious landscapes. Return‘s plot is, happily, […]

Five questions for Robin Smith of Calling Caldecott

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Since its debut in 2011, The Horn Book’s Calling Caldecott blog has been a destination for picture-book lovers eager to discuss favorite books in the months leading up to ALA annual — and to make their best guesses about what will win Caldecott gold. The Calling Caldecott team is Martha Parravano, executive editor of The Horn […]

Review of Wonderfall

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Wonderfall by Michael Hall; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Greenwillow    40 pp. 9/16    978-0-06-238298-6    $17.99 After his earlier inventive picture books introducing shapes (Perfect Square, rev. 3/11) and colors (Red: A Crayon’s Story, rev. 1/15), Hall turns now to a season: autumn. Replacing the suffix -ful with his own created suffix -fall, he invents […]

Fiete KinderZoo app review

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“We invited 30 kids…to design an app…in 1 hour!” begins Fiete KinderZoo (Ahoiii, October 2016; iOS and Android). A photo slideshow on a series of brightly colored backgrounds portrays kids cutting and pasting collage elements, recording sound, and just generally having a blast hanging out at the Ahoiii studio. Upbeat string-and-xylophone music accompanies the photos. […]