It's hard to quibble with Dino Boy's appeal, his cheerful sense of adventure and the app's beautiful design. The punctuation...



An artful bundle of cuteness, marred only by some careless errors in the accompanying text.

In this series opener, a cherubic child in a thickly padded dinosaur costume moves to the city with his parents. Once there, he finds a slide that transports him from his hand-drawn, animated home to a photorealistic world of storefronts and street corners. The story's shift from Dino Boy's world to ours is handled nicely; against a photographed backdrop, he appears as an illustrated paper cut-out. Apart from its refreshing art style, it also differs from most storybook apps by allowing the story to branch off in one of three different directions when Dino Boy must choose whether to explore a toy store, a playground or a museum in order to get back home. Gorgeous page-turn transitions offer extra artwork between the story pages. And, in a design choice that makes the app more fun (but could prove frustrating), readers can't advance until they press the right object on screen to unlock a page-turn icon. If the story's text were as sharp and attuned to detail as the rest of the app, it would be nearly perfect. But, unfortunately, it sometimes forgets apostrophes and can't consistently settle on "Dino Boy" or "Dino boy." 

It's hard to quibble with Dino Boy's appeal, his cheerful sense of adventure and the app's beautiful design. The punctuation problems don't ruin an otherwise lovely app experience. (iPad storybook app. 3-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2011


Page Count: -

Publisher: Three Thumbs Up

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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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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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.


Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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