Well-meant but unlikely to get children, learning-challenged or otherwise, off the ground.

THE HIGGLEDY-PIGGLEDY PIGEON

A pigeon with no sense of direction fails a flight school exam, but with additional study and a teacher’s encouragement, triumphs the second time around.

Confident student pilot Hank is plunged into despair after he loses track of where to go, and to the derision of his classmates, he returns from his demonstration flight two hours late. Second time’s the charm, though, after his teacher puts a proper spin on the experience—“With hard work on your side / And a compass to guide, / To the head of the class you can soar!”—and leaves him to practice his map-reading skills. Each scene features tap-activated blinks, squawks or other small-scale effects, a text box that evaporates with a touch, and an inconspicuous menu icon. Eight easy, multiple-choice comprehension and discussion questions (“Does having a personal hardship or learning challenge mean that you can’t succeed?”) cap a thoroughly lesson-driven episode. It is illustrated with bland cartoons and written in verse so contrived that even the supplied narration sounds labored.

Well-meant but unlikely to get children, learning-challenged or otherwise, off the ground. (iPad storybook app. 6-9)

Pub Date: May 23, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Interact Books

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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