Given the number of higher-quality "Little Mermaid" apps available, this one would be better off lost at sea.

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THE TRIPLETS AND THE LITTLE MERMAID

There may be a story hiding behind the layers of cuteness and gimmickry, but anyone would be forgiven for not recognizing it as the Hans Christian Andersen tale.

In this app, part of a series featuring overalls-wearing, curly-haired triplets, the sea tale is told on a stage, complete with a curtain and footlights. The framing device is clever at first—backdrops, props and characters appear as they would in a theater, dropping in and sliding by—but they're in service of a brief, unsatisfying adaptation. Perhaps it's a rough translation from one of the other languages the app is available in (Spanish and Catalan), but the text often reads like a set of colorless assembly directions: "But the Little Mermaid rescues the Prince. The Little Mermaid falls in love with the Prince." The ending, closer(ish) to the original tale than the Disney happily-ever-after, is wobbly and strange. After diving into the sea, the Little Mermaid is taken away by fairies and turned into "a beautiful star next to the moon." The app's most ambitious feature, "Animate your own tale," allows users to install a free version of the app on a separate device and build scenes on stage from it. Nothing about the feature is very impressive except the fuss involved in getting it going.

Given the number of higher-quality "Little Mermaid" apps available, this one would be better off lost at sea. (iPad storybook app. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 19, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Cromosoma

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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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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A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson.

MAX AND THE TAG-ALONG MOON

After a visit, an African-American grandfather and grandson say farewell under a big yellow moon. Granpa tells Max it is the same moon he will see when he gets home.

This gently told story uses Max’s fascination with the moon’s ability to “tag along” where his family’s car goes as a metaphor for his grandfather’s constant love. Separating the two relatives is “a swervy-curvy road” that travels up and down hills, over a bridge, “past a field of sleeping cows,” around a small town and through a tunnel. No matter where Max travels, the moon is always there, waiting around a curve or peeking through the trees. But then “[d]ark clouds tumbled across the night sky.” No stars, no nightingales and no moon are to be found. Max frets: “Granpa said it would always shine for me.” Disappointed, Max climbs into bed, missing both the moon and his granpa. In a dramatic double-page spread, readers see Max’s excitement as “[s]lowly, very slowly, Max’s bedroom began to fill with a soft yellow glow.” Cooper uses his signature style to illustrate both the landscape—sometimes viewed from the car windows or reflected in the vehicle’s mirror—and the expressive faces of his characters. Coupled with the story’s lyrical text, this is a lovely mood piece.

A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-23342-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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