An understated but illuminating first glimpse at what measurement is all about. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)



A little king breaks his bed and then has to contend with the invention of measurement to find one that is the right size.

This simple app, with minimal interaction and rudimentary storyline, introduces users to a boy-king who loves to bounce on his bed, until he busts the frame “and his bottom hit the floor. ‘Ouch!’ ” If told, his parents would hold him responsible. One of those light bulbs indicating thought illuminates: “He would get a new bed without telling them.” (Kings don’t have to worry about such trivialities as payment.) Toe-to-toe, he paces out the dimensions and gives them to his chamberlain, who gives them to the carpenter, the maker of duvets and the master of mattresses. They, in turn, use their own toe-to-toe measurements and arrive at a very disproportioned bed indeed, true only to the carpenter’s clodhoppers, the duvet maker’s petite tootsies and the mattress maestro’s standard-issues. The wizard is summoned, who produces three sticks of equal length for each of the bed makers. Thus the ruler—oh yes, pun fully intended—was born. Forget about Theodorus of Crete and all those Egyptians, Indians, Chinese and the many unsung creators of measurement—what is at stake here is the standard measure, one of the first and great democratic acts. The interactive element here is easy peasy (even if navigation from page to page throughout the site is not): The active ingredient has a glowing pulse. The settings are enveloped in fire-warmed hues, as befitting bedtime, and the bed is a vision of billowy swells in a royal blue sea, even if the characters are as stiff as cold marionettes.

An understated but illuminating first glimpse at what measurement is all about. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 22, 2013


Page Count: -

Publisher: Mrs. Fizz's Classroom

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2013

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Sincere and wholehearted.

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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 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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