An unparalleled holiday treasure. If Santa could only deliver one app this Christmas, he’d be wise to select this one.

READ REVIEW

A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS

Loaded with interactive gems and rich features, this adaptation takes the beloved 1965 television special to soaring new heights.

In this nostalgic offering, all 18 of the illustrated pages come directly from the TV special, but they’ve been enhanced by a plethora of interactive features—many of which “unlock” rewards that can later be used to adorn a Christmas tree. Rather than simply animating the story, this version allows readers to animate it themselves—an absolute triumph in terms of unleashing the creative potential of tablet devices. A pop-up piano keyboard prompts readers to play along with Guaraldi’s original tunes; tapping Snoopy sends him to decorate his doghouse; touching characters elicits musical “oohs” that collectively form a carol. Peter Robbins (the original voice of Charlie Brown) narrates the story, but all dialogue is provided by audio clips from the original television special. Slidable tabbed footers display the text, which is highlighted word for word with the narration. At the end of the book, readers are provided with a summary of the “rewards” they’ve earned and overlooked, and they are also offered additional tree regalia as an in-app purchase. The recently released version 2.0 contains a “director’s cut” that adds three previously excluded scenes.

An unparalleled holiday treasure. If Santa could only deliver one app this Christmas, he’d be wise to select this one. (iPad storybook app. 3-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Loud Crow Interactive

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2011

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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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