Dutch illustrator/writer Bourgonje makes her app debut with this charming tale. One ordinary day, a small grey mouse decides...

FIERCE GREY MOUSE

Little Grey Mouse aims to become fierce in this winsome story about child’s play and make-believe.

Dutch illustrator/writer Bourgonje makes her app debut with this charming tale. One ordinary day, a small grey mouse decides he wants to be fierce. He imagines behaving like a wild animal. He does exercises to develop strong muscles and then puts them to use by practicing his pouncing skills. After combing his hair like a ruffian and eating a good breakfast, the ferocious wee rodent climbs a tree and waits for someone to pounce on. Along come his friends, and a day of jubilant play ensues. The app functions much like an animated storyboard; the backgrounds are lush watercolor-like stages that characters perform on. All text is comprised of what appears to be cutout magazine letters (a breath of fresh air in a medium largely dominated by standard typeface). And when tapped, the mouse and his “prey” all yield endearing sound effects. Navigation is a cinch. Interactive animation is abundant, but perhaps the app’s most striking asset is that it has a strong, well-written story, which is beautifully narrated in English, Dutch or Spanish.

Pub Date: May 16, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Tizio BV

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2011

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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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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