Snow White is given short shrift in this amateurish adaptation. Everything down to the tiny, barely there poisoned apple is...

SNOW WHITE

A generic, uninspired take on "Snow White" brings rudimentary interactivity to the story without adding anything magical or even above average to make readers forget better versions.

There are no narrative surprises, as the plot follows the familiar path, and there's nothing in its delivery to distinguish it. The story gallops at a pace that doesn't give any characters, even Snow White herself, any time to come across as more than names and drawings. The dwarves, for instance, are given a single page of introduction in which they also agree to let Snow White be their housekeeper. When the text isn't bland, it's clunky: "Fearing for her life, she ran through the afternoon, growing weary, hungry and losing hope that she would find shelter." If there's a saving grace here, it's that a surprising number of objects, characters and backgrounds respond to touch with small snatches of animation or sound effects. But they're part of a design that clumsily mixes realistic-looking backgrounds with painted foregrounds and crudely cartoonish animals and characters. The app has no navigation beyond page arrows and no extras or options beyond narration or narration-free. It doesn't even include a page index or menu to jump to a specific page in the app.

Snow White is given short shrift in this amateurish adaptation. Everything down to the tiny, barely there poisoned apple is unconvincing and an opportunity missed. (iPad storybook app. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 31, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Fairytale Studios

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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