The fiddle music is just about the only element in tune in this humdrum effort.



From the Peggy's Little Harbour series , Vol. 1

A saccharine tale about a little girl and her animal friends is further marred by inharmonious narration.

Peggy and her dog, Droolie, a Newfoundland, live with her grandmother in a lighthouse in a small town by the ocean. Peggy wants to do something nice for Nanny, so she and Droolie head off to the blueberry patch to pick her some blueberries. There, they meet a beaver whose home has been crushed by a fallen tree. Peggy plays a violin to call her animal friends—a puffin, moose, lynx and bear—to use their various abilities to help the beaver, and then they all help Peggy pick blueberries. Peggy and her grandmother look like appealing little Lego figures, with squarish heads and bodies that look like they’ve been assembled with small plastic pieces. The illustrations have a 3-D effect that is enhanced when the screen is tilted. The fiddle music is lively and enjoyable, but the text and narration are painful, with a jerky cadence and forced volume. Additional effects are limited to animations and sound effects for the characters. Extras include “Peggy’s Theme Song” and a short video that is much more appealing than the main app story.

The fiddle music is just about the only element in tune in this humdrum effort.   (iPad storybook app. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 7, 2012


Page Count: -

Publisher: Keyframe Digital Productions

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2012

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Safe to creep on by.


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 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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