Pure commercialized product, offering barely a hint of any literary, dramatic, musical or emotional experience and stocked...


The handful of coloring pages and puzzles supplementing the stills that serve for illustrations and minor interactive features serve as poor substitutes for the original film's swinging (if period, now) songs and lively voice-over performances.

Read optionally in cultured British accents by a single narrator over a background of generic light jazz, the tale does retrace the movie's overall course—though so sketchily that none of the cats, from Duchess and her three kittens to their rescuer O'Malley and his raffish buddies, have a chance to establish much individuality. Furthermore, it's all paced...so...deliberately that many readers will inadvertently swipe ahead and so miss some delayed pans and passages of text. Along with an abbreviated piano keyboard featuring a preprogrammed tune, three (savable) coloring pages and five multileveled jigsaw puzzles provide additional story-derailing distractions. For children with a yen to personalize, the app includes a self-record option and a "bookplate" with spaces for a name and a photo. 

Pure commercialized product, offering barely a hint of any literary, dramatic, musical or emotional experience and stocked with a scanty assortment of off-the-shelf interactive elements. (iPad movie storybook app. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 31, 2012


Page Count: -

Publisher: Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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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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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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