A bit rough around the edges, but any mention of “belly button” will reliably elicit gales of giggles from younger readers...

READ REVIEW

SOMEONE STOLE MY BELLY BUTTON

Considerably more polished of software design than art, story or orthography, this bilingual episode features a thoroughly cute ninja panda who discovers the peril of napping outdoors without covering up.

The story first sends the little blue-and-white panda out “to play with his friends today!!! yippee!!!” After lunch, little ninja panda ignores a warning from a pink ninja playmate and “kept his tummy out while taking a nap”—whereupon bored “thunder boy,” floating by on a cloud, zaps the outie off with a thunderbolt. A fruitless search and a tearful night ensue. Happily, not only does the nabbed navel arrive in the next morning’s mail with an apologetic note from thunder boy’s dad, Mr. Thunder, but a vague final scene reveals that the whole thing was either a bedtime story or perhaps a dream. Along with tilt-responsive loose apples, tap-activated sparkles, and a large number of other interactive animations and sound effects, the very simple silkscreen-style illustrations feature a stubby-limbed, all-panda cast depicted in various sugary colors. Simple navigation features shuriken-shaped icons to tap for page turns and a ubiquitous panda button to return to the home screen. The tale is related in English over Japanese narrative blocks that change in point size from screen to screen. The instantly monotonous clip of tinkling background music can, thankfully, be switched off; otherwise, there is no audio track.

A bit rough around the edges, but any mention of “belly button” will reliably elicit gales of giggles from younger readers and listeners. (iPad storybook app. 4-6.)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Derek Yu

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2013

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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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Though the rhyme tumbles and at times bumbles, enticing imagery will lure readers in.

GOD SPEAKS IN WHISPERS

Rhyming text and colorful multicultural illustrations reassure young readers of God’s omnipresence and still small voice.

“Where in the world is God’s voice found?” Perhaps in ocean waves, bird song, or mountain vistas, suggest the couplet rhymes. Even when readers might be faced with difficult emotions and distractions of all kinds, the text reassures them that God is still there and still speaking, if only one pauses to listen. His voice can be found in nature, in starlight, in the love of family and friends, in dreams, and “through His Word.” Admirably, the bright illustrations, reminiscent of mid-20th-century Disney artist Mary Blair’s stylings, depict children and families with a diverse array of skin tones and ages. There is also a refreshing mix of urban, suburban, and rural settings. Yet, despite the appealing illustrations, the rhymes and scansion are often forced (“your feelings, they matter, / even if they’re all mixed up like / pancake batter”), which detracts from the overall message. Contrived couplets notwithstanding, this title will likely find an audience among Christian households seeking reassuring bedtime reads.

Though the rhyme tumbles and at times bumbles, enticing imagery will lure readers in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-65385-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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