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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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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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.

DRAGONS LOVE TACOS

From the Dragons Love Tacos series

The perfect book for kids who love dragons and mild tacos.

Rubin’s story starts with an incantatory edge: “Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.” The playing field is set: dragons, tacos. As a pairing, they are fairly silly, and when the kicker comes in—that dragons hate spicy salsa, which ignites their inner fireworks—the silliness is sillier still. Second nature, after all, is for dragons to blow flames out their noses. So when the kid throws a taco party for the dragons, it seems a weak device that the clearly labeled “totally mild” salsa comes with spicy jalapenos in the fine print, prompting the dragons to burn down the house, resulting in a barn-raising at which more tacos are served. Harmless, but if there is a parable hidden in the dragon-taco tale, it is hidden in the unlit deep, and as a measure of lunacy, bridled or unbridled, it doesn’t make the leap into the outer reaches of imagination. Salmieri’s artwork is fitting, with a crabbed, ethereal line work reminiscent of Peter Sís, but the story does not offer it enough range.

A wandering effort, happy but pointless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3680-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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