Step right up to this truly spectacular offering; it will undoubtedly delight ladies, gentlemen and children of all ages.

PICCADILLY'S CIRCUS

Every element of this app shines in a story about circus performers who learn to appreciate the talents of others.

This winning interactive tale is a highly successful marriage between tradition and technology. The pleasantly simple illustrations function much like a flannel board, though characters often stay anchored while doing things like swaying, jumping or balancing. When the ringmaster, Mr. Piccadilly, falls ill (and sneezes everyone off screen), the other animals and performers realize that the show must go on. Readers can dress various characters in the ringmaster's clothes as they all contemplate who will be the group’s temporary leader. Each argues that his or her job is the most difficult in the circus, which obviously qualifies them to be ringmaster. After the bear wins the coveted position, everyone else swaps tasks for the night to prove that others’ jobs are easy. Of course they aren’t, and valuable lessons are learned. There’s plenty of interactive and literary creativity infused throughout the story. Chirping crickets accompany a spotlight that reveals the bear’s stage fright; a little dog is shot out of a cannon, sails through the top of the circus tent and then parachutes to safety. And the app’s narrator tells the well-crafted story with an exceptional dramatic flair. 

Step right up to this truly spectacular offering; it will undoubtedly delight ladies, gentlemen and children of all ages. (iPad storybook app. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Ink Robin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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