Apart from decent navigation and a few touch features that are only briefly entertaining, nothing in this app rises above...

THE ADVENTURES OF MR. MOUSE

From the Mr. Mouse series , Vol. 1

A selfish hamster learns about the benefits of sharing from two generous mice.

Mr. Mouse isn’t a mouse at all; he’s a hamster that has everything a rodent could want: adoring owners, a multilevel house, a deluxe hamster wheel and an endless supply of nuts. One evening, two mice stop by to ask him if they can play on the wheel, and the hamster brusquely refuses to let them in. In a predictable twist of fate, Mr. Mouse falls out of his cage the next night and quickly becomes frightened and lonely. The mice find him, invite him to their humble abode and show him lavish hospitality. Lesson learned. The rhyming text is sloppy and forced, and at times it is even confusing. For example, when the mice find Mr. Mouse they approach him “to make amends.” Wait…isn’t it the ill-tempered, stingy hamster who should be apologizing? Many of the graphics are static, but the app also has considerable bobble and tilt action (though such features often distract rather than enhance). Icons make navigation easy, but to trigger narration, the play button must be tapped on each page.

Apart from decent navigation and a few touch features that are only briefly entertaining, nothing in this app rises above mediocrity. (iPad storybook app. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Edward Cooper

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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Hee haw.

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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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Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles.

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YOU MATTER

Employing a cast of diverse children reminiscent of that depicted in Another (2019), Robinson shows that every living entity has value.

After opening endpapers that depict an aerial view of a busy playground, the perspective shifts to a black child, ponytails tied with beaded elastics, peering into a microscope. So begins an exercise in perspective. From those bits of green life under the lens readers move to “Those who swim with the tide / and those who don’t.” They observe a “pest”—a mosquito biting a dinosaur, a “really gassy” planet, and a dog whose walker—a child in a pink hijab—has lost hold of the leash. Periodically, the examples are validated with the titular refrain. Textured paint strokes and collage elements contrast with uncluttered backgrounds that move from white to black to white. The black pages in the middle portion foreground scenes in space, including a black astronaut viewing Earth; the astronaut is holding an image of another black youngster who appears on the next spread flying a toy rocket and looking lonely. There are many such visual connections, creating emotional interest and invitations for conversation. The story’s conclusion spins full circle, repeating opening sentences with new scenarios. From the microscopic to the cosmic, word and image illuminate the message without a whiff of didacticism.

Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2169-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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