The lack of continuous play makes the video version superfluous, but the episode will still draw snorts and chortles aplenty...

THE TROUBLE WITH MUM

An early work from the inveterate prankster Cole goes digital with the addition of extra reading options and a short introductory video.

As pleasantly silly now as it was when it first appeared in 1983 (1984 in the United States), the tale features a young narrator who can’t have friends over. Why? It seems that her mom is shunned by all the other parents—perhaps because, as her tall, conical hat with the turquoise dragon and like peculiar decorations signals, she’s a witch. Who makes exploding, vermin-filled cupcakes, turns some of the aforementioned parents into toads and, as a sliding inset reveals, keeps Dad in a jar to cure him of “going to the pub.” Who also saves the school from burning down, so by the end, the ice is broken. In droll contrast to the innocuous text, the cartoon illustrations teem with an array of spells, large monsters and small hairy creatures being enjoyed by laughing children as grown-ups look on in dismay. The page layouts remains approximately the same as in the print edition, but they have been multiplied into three iterations laid end to end: one for silent reading; one read aloud in a properly dry tone by the author; and one in which she appears, but not holding a copy of the book, in a small but expandable window for a series of “live” video clips. Both the audio and the video must be manually triggered on each page.

The lack of continuous play makes the video version superfluous, but the episode will still draw snorts and chortles aplenty from young audiences. (Enhanced e-book/picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Inky Sprat Ltd.

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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