Narration makes it a book, but multi-media reigns supreme in this compelling account of conservation efforts.

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BABY PANDA'S NEW HOME

A photo/video montage that chronicles the life of Zhen Zhen, a baby panda born at the San Diego Zoo.

Zentro Media has partnered with producer/documentarian Cambou to educate kids about pandas and their plight as an endangered species. Zhen Zhen was born as a result of the zoo having “put mama and papa pandas together so they can have babies.” In fact, the app includes embedded video of the birth, though it’s completely gore and drama-free; it contains nothing at all that would be inappropriate for young children. Throughout the 34 pages, there are accounts of how zookeepers care for the fuzzy creatures, plenty of information about the animals’ habits and needs and a generous pitch about why conservation efforts are both necessary and important. Each page contains at least one bamboo frame that holds a video or photographs. Narration is interrupted when video frames are tapped, but it continues when the frame holds only a photograph. In addition, the app provides regular opportunities to summon panda facts and take part in “activities” (finger painting to reveal a photo or to turn grayscale images to color, for example). The photos are vivid and clear, and the videos will evoke many a smile. 

Narration makes it a book, but multi-media reigns supreme in this compelling account of conservation efforts. (iPad storybook app. 4-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Zentro Media

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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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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More trampling in the vineyards of the Literary Classics section, with results that will tickle fancies high and low.

DOG MAN AND CAT KID

From the Dog Man series , Vol. 4

Recasting Dog Man and his feline ward, Li’l Petey, as costumed superheroes, Pilkey looks East of Eden in this follow-up to Tale of Two Kitties (2017).

The Steinbeck novel’s Cain/Abel motif gets some play here, as Petey, “world’s evilest cat” and cloned Li’l Petey’s original, tries assiduously to tempt his angelic counterpart over to the dark side only to be met, ultimately at least, by Li’l Petey’s “Thou mayest.” (There are also occasional direct quotes from the novel.) But inner struggles between good and evil assume distinctly subordinate roles to riotous outer ones, as Petey repurposes robots built for a movie about the exploits of Dog Man—“the thinking man’s Rin Tin Tin”—while leading a general rush to the studio’s costume department for appropriate good guy/bad guy outfits in preparation for the climactic battle. During said battle and along the way Pilkey tucks in multiple Flip-O-Rama inserts as well as general gags. He lists no fewer than nine ways to ask “who cut the cheese?” and includes both punny chapter titles (“The Bark Knight Rises”) and nods to Hamilton and Mary Poppins. The cartoon art, neatly and brightly colored by Garibaldi, is both as easy to read as the snappy dialogue and properly endowed with outsized sound effects, figures displaying a range of skin colors, and glimpses of underwear (even on robots).

More trampling in the vineyards of the Literary Classics section, with results that will tickle fancies high and low. (drawing instructions) (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-93518-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

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