Potter's story of an abusive relationship between Miss Moppet the cat and Mouse is given short shrift in this shoddy,...

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THE STORY OF MISS MOPPET

There's homage and then there's pure imitation, and in this adaptation of Beatrix Potter's cat-and-mouse tale, the developer has clearly studied the template created by Loud Crow Interactive and created a cheap, off-putting knockoff.

Loud Crow developed superb apps out of The Tale of Peter Rabbit and The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin. In this app, everything, from the title screen to its drop-down-bookmark menu to the way Potter's illustrations wiggle and squeak when touched, is similar, but the execution falls short. With generic music, annoying sound effects ("Boing!" goes one, making it sound like it was recycled from a Saturday-morning TV show) and narration that feels out of rhythm, the original text and pictures survive intact, but just barely. The title screen, showing a copy of the original book, a fountain pen, ink and what appears to be a blank yellow Post-It Note (seriously!?) tells you all you need to know. Worst, the narration must be activated by touching the first letter of the first word of each page, but there's no hint or instruction that this is the case. 

Potter's story of an abusive relationship between Miss Moppet the cat and Mouse is given short shrift in this shoddy, derivative app. Readers will be left feeling teased and unsatisfied, even if they're unaware far better Potter apps exist. (iPad storybook app. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Squeaky Oak

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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Sincere and wholehearted.

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I PROMISE

The NBA star offers a poem that encourages curiosity, integrity, compassion, courage, and self-forgiveness.

James makes his debut as a children’s author with a motivational poem touting life habits that children should strive for. In the first-person narration, he provides young readers with foundational self-esteem encouragement layered within basketball descriptions: “I promise to run full court and show up each time / to get right back up and let my magic shine.” While the verse is nothing particularly artful, it is heartfelt, and in her illustrations, Mata offers attention-grabbing illustrations of a diverse and enthusiastic group of children. Scenes vary, including classrooms hung with student artwork, an asphalt playground where kids jump double Dutch, and a gym populated with pint-sized basketball players, all clearly part of one bustling neighborhood. Her artistry brings black and brown joy to the forefront of each page. These children evince equal joy in learning and in play. One particularly touching double-page spread depicts two vignettes of a pair of black children, possibly siblings; in one, they cuddle comfortably together, and in the other, the older gives the younger a playful noogie. Adults will appreciate the closing checklist of promises, which emphasize active engagement with school. A closing note very generally introduces principles that underlie the Lebron James Family Foundation’s I Promise School (in Akron, Ohio). (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 15% of actual size.)

Sincere and wholehearted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-297106-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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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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