It's a nice-enough book with a well-handled message, but probably not one that holds up to too many repeated readings.



A storybook with a clear, easy-to-understand message about embracing the similarities of friends who live under different circumstances, this app succeeds even if its page structure proves cumbersome.

Melissa, or "Miss Priss" as she's known to her family, is a little girl who wears a princess crown and has a best friend named Sasha. In her chirpy voice, she narrates a series of observations about Sasha. Melissa tells readers at the start that Sasha has a wheelchair and "[s]leeps in a special, super cool bed." But thereafter, Melissa doesn't focus on Sasha's unspecified disability. Instead, she recounts all the ways that the two girls are alike, from the apple juice boxes they enjoy to the trouble they get into when they throw tantrums. The two girls love apples and hate Brussels sprouts. Sasha plays the piano, and Melissa loves to join in as they sing together. Appropriately, the app matter-of-factly points out the one way that Sasha is different without belaboring the point. She is simply a little girl who happens to be Melissa's best friend, and their widely varying expressions indicate that have they a great time together. The app itself offers no extra options or frills beyond arrows or finger swipes to turn each page. The one misstep is that many pages contain text that reads "Tap here" to display an additional, paired page. It's easy to miss that text, and each time it's employed, it brings the reader back to the original page rather than advancing the story. There ought to be a more elegant way to read straight through.

It's a nice-enough book with a well-handled message, but probably not one that holds up to too many repeated readings. (iPad storybook app. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 27, 2012


Page Count: -

Publisher: The Best Story Apps and Books for Little Children, Big Kids and Family

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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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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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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