Promising, though the navigation needs tweaking, and the glossary is still in an early stage.

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ENDLESS ALPHABET

Googly eyed cartoon letter-monsters scatter and can be nudged back into order to form words in this hyperactive vocabulary builder.

Preceded by a swipe-through index that provides the only alternative to going in strict alphabetical order, the words—which run to lively choices like “lick,” “hilarious” and “cooperate”—appear one to a screen. Once a viewer settles on a word, a passing herd of cartoon monsters kicks the letters away from their outlines. The letters develop eyes and sound themselves out as they’re dragged back into their places, and reassembling the word opens a second screen in which more monsters demonstrate its use. A speech-balloon icon in one corner, unintuitively labeled “Word,” activates a short, voiced definition (“When you DEMOLISH something, you break it on purpose”). Big sound effects, loud colors and sudden quick movements give the whole exercise a feel of gleeful unrestraint, reminiscent of Sesame Street at its most frenetic. The app as reviewed offers just 32 terms, but more are promised at unspecified intervals (and, at least potentially, cost), and a screen headed “Information For Parents” contains, so far, only links to a technical assistance page and social media.

Promising, though the navigation needs tweaking, and the glossary is still in an early stage. (iPad alphabet app. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Callaway Digital Arts

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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