A memorably fine example of amusement and instruction

READ REVIEW

THE CHEWING GUM ADVENTURES

A piece of chewing gum by the name of Green gets an entomology lesson when he escapes from the pack.

A candy-coated piece of gum’s fate is fraught: “Imagine, one minute you and your friends are enjoying a sleepover and the next you’re in a horrible, slimy mouth.” Green would rather be a bug in the garden. His friends help him make his wish real. Once in the garden, he meets up with a grasshopper, a Japanese beetle and a caterpillar, each with talents both spooky and fascinating. When they are swept up and put in a collection jar, Green gets to display a very special talent of his own. This is a short app, with a Zen-like simplicity of focus, spidery lines and washed colors that together defy the unlikely premise. Each page has a pulsing orb that lets readers trigger some action: Green is jettisoned from the package, whispery skulls rise from the leaf being eaten by the beetle—illustrating the word “skeletonising,” just one of a half dozen juicy words (mandible, dazzling) comfortably worked into the text—a butterfly net sweeps through the air—plus a couple with slapstick qualities. Green’s progress through the garden has its share of lessons, such as using your natural abilities, though it is plain engaging in its own right.

A memorably fine example of amusement and instruction . (iPad storybook app. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Happy Ink Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2012

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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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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