A low-key, appealingly unpretentious twist on a familiar folk tale.

B.B. WOLF

A revised “Little Red Riding Hood,” with unusually simple and effective illustrations and interactive features.

Fong suspends small figures drawn in thin, scribbly lines against speckled sepia backgrounds free of extraneous detail, creating narrative movement for her retelling with one or two discreet spiral buttons in each scene. These activate a gesture, cause a line of text to appear or some similarly simple change when tapped. She also transforms the original tale’s cautionary message. She follows the traditional plotline until Red Riding Hood enters Grandma’s house, but then she puts the wolf in front of the stove in the kitchen, where he indignantly denies any wrongdoing and hands Red the basket of goodies she had left in the woods. In comes Grandma to make the lesson explicit (“What did I tell you about judging people by their appearances?”) and to join child and wolf at the table for “a nice dinner of porkchops.” Consonant with the overall sparseness of art and prose, page advances are manual only, and there are neither looped animations nor audio tracks.

A low-key, appealingly unpretentious twist on a familiar folk tale. (iPad storybook app. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 15, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Debbie Fong

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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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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JOHNNY APPLESEED

Though she never says outright that he was a real person, Kurtz introduces newly emergent readers to the historical John Chapman, walking along the Ohio, planting apple seeds, and bartering seedlings to settlers for food and clothing. Haverfield supplies the legendary portions of his tale, with views of a smiling, stylishly ragged, clean-shaven young man, pot on head, wildlife on shoulder or trailing along behind. Kurtz caps her short, rhythmic text with an invitation to “Clap your hands for Johnny Chapman. / Clap your hands for Johnny Appleseed!” An appealing way to open discussions of our country’s historical or legendary past. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 5-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85958-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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