ANA LOMBA'S SPANISH FOR KIDS: CINDERELLA / CENICIENTA

More textbook than storybook, this modern take on "Cinderella" is part of a series of language-study apps from educator Ana Lomba. The story of the neglected stepsister-turned-princess is presented as a set of 10 scenes to be listened to in one language, repeated in a second language (here it's English and Spanish) and acted out by the reader as a form of immersion learning. Some of the original tale's timeless magic is lost in translating; Cinderella doesn't just do laundry; she does it at 9:00 with modern washer and dryer. She buys groceries for her keepers, specifically $34.17 worth of potatoes, lettuce and tomatoes. The vocabulary-building list-taking isn't great for the story's narrative, but it's a novel approach to educational storytelling. Less innovative is the app's cluttered, busy design, which puts too many distracting buttons above and below the text. At 51 pages, however, the app doesn't skimp on content. Its narration is well-acted, including distinct tone changes for character dialogue in both English and Spanish. The amusing present-day touches (the stepsisters do Pilates; Cinderella arrives at the ball in an orange Maserati) don't hurt, either. (iPad storybook app. 4-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2010

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2011

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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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THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE

Like an ocean-going “Lion and the Mouse,” a humpback whale and a snail “with an itchy foot” help each other out in this cheery travelogue. Responding to a plaintive “Ride wanted around the world,” scrawled in slime on a coastal rock, whale picks up snail, then sails off to visit waters tropical and polar, stormy and serene before inadvertently beaching himself. Off hustles the snail, to spur a nearby community to action with another slimy message: “SAVE THE WHALE.” Donaldson’s rhyme, though not cumulative, sounds like “The house that Jack built”—“This is the tide coming into the bay, / And these are the villagers shouting, ‘HOORAY!’ / As the whale and the snail travel safely away. . . .” Looking in turn hopeful, delighted, anxious, awed, and determined, Scheffler’s snail, though tiny next to her gargantuan companion, steals the show in each picturesque seascape—and upon returning home, provides so enticing an account of her adventures that her fellow mollusks all climb on board the whale’s tail for a repeat voyage. Young readers will clamor to ride along. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8037-2922-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

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