A sweet story that can help little monsters know what to expect when traveling for a holiday. (iPad storybook app. 3-7)

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MONSTER HOLIDAY

Peter and Peril, two little monster siblings from the charming storybook app Monster Morning (2013), return for a family holiday overseas.

“A holiday is a special time/ to relax, have fun and play. / To travel somewhere different,/ be it close or far away.” The Monsterssori family has decided to head to the beach, and there are many things they have to do before they get there. This sweet story takes preschoolers through each step of going on a holiday: deciding what to pack, going to the airport, getting to the beach and making friends. Like many children, Peril is feeling “slightly nervous; / it’s her first time on a plane.” Just as she feels better with her monster mom’s reassurance, young readers will gain confidence in reading about the different aspects of travel. The digital cartoon illustrations have a goofy appeal, with their googly-eyed monsters, bright colors and many patterns. The rhyming text is pleasant, though it has occasional trouble with the scansion. The interactive features are limited, with an overreliance on arbitrarily bouncing, twirling figures, but they keep with the pleasant tone of the story.

A sweet story that can help little monsters know what to expect when traveling for a holiday. (iPad storybook app. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 20, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Purple Ely

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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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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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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