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

MISS PRISS AND SASHA

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

ISBN: N/A

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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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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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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