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Dino Tales Jr

Dino Tales Jr is an interactive storytelling app that nurtures early literacy skills in children while fostering creativity. This engaging app allows little ones to explore a Jurassic world packed with adventure, mini games, storytelling and puzzles, all through an intuitive touch and drag interface. Once the prehistoric playmates are all played out, they can settle down for story time with Darwin, a friendly Darwinopterus, and follow along with highlighted words as they listen to Darwin's fun narration. $1.99. Available at the iTunes store.

Danger Mouse

The world's greatest super spy, Danger Mouse is now on Netflix. This beloved British cartoon returns in dashing, globe-spanning style with a new animated series that features all the classic characters, catchphrases and comedy that made it an 80's cult favorite. With the world once more teetering on the edge of disaster, the small but heroic secret agent is back to thrill a whole new generation of fans as he attempts to overthrow a host of villainous rivals with the help of hapless hamster, Penfold and a collection of state-of-the-art gadgetry and vehicles. Check out YouTube for the latest trailer.

— Jenny L. Heinbaugh

Book Reviews

By Mary Quattlebaum

babies / tots

At the Beach

Pack this charming board book when you head for the shore!   Through a simple, rhyming text, Elizabeth Spurr spotlights a tot’s joy in the sun and sea and his pride in his first sand castle.   A wave that dashes it provides a realistic moment of drama, but after lunch, the boy returns, in dreams, to the same sandy place for new adventures.   Manelle Oliphant beautifully manipulates space and distance.   Her spreads are visually dynamic, ranging from a close-up of the smiling child, with his little shovel, to a full-spread seascape with green-blue waves and cloud-puffed sky.   This book is sure to prompt little ones to share tales about their own beach experiences.

ages 3 – 6

Scuba Dog

While swimming, a curious beagle meets a new buddy who loves the ocean as much as he does.   The only problem: He can’t stay underwater long enough to play with a whale!   So he decides to take scuba lessons.   Finally, with mask and fins, the pooch is able to join the whale for a watery “spin, whirl, and dive” dance.   He then returns to teach the dogs on land the song that his pal sang to him.   Local author Ann Marie Stephens creates an endearing, engaging story of two unlikely friends who delight in a shared passion and the chance to surprise one another.   Illustrator Jess Golden skillfully conveys the beauty of the ocean and its inhabitants—orange fish, green kelp, pink jelly fish—and the exuberance of the two friends.

ages 7 – 11

Horrible Harry and the Birthday Girl

Suzy Kline serves up a big slice of silly fun with the latest illustrated chapter book from the popular Horrible Harry series.   Super-organized Mary has planned her own birthday outing, which includes a train ride to a play.   But things start to go wrong almost immediately.   First, the train is late, then she accidentally spills red punch on her yellow skirt.   Fortunately, Horrible Harry proves to be hilariously heroic with a pair of snow pants and some ribbons.   When he smiles, he reveals teeth an amazing shade of pink, thanks to the icing on the birthday cupcakes.   Kline playfully captures the goofy dynamics, mercurial moods and different personalities of this group of classmates.