Anton's adventure in aural admonition isn't too pleasurable; by the time he gets to make a real racket, the story's already...

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SHOOSH

Rough illustrations, a not-quite-there translation and characters who come across as remarkably troubled for a children's app make this story seem like a good argument for keeping quiet.

One morning, bushy-haired Anton climbs into his parents' bed holding a squeak-toy rubber duck (called a "bird" throughout the story). He's quieted down immediately, and thus begins a day that seems miserable from the outside; everything that Anton does, from slurping hot soup to shuffling his feet at the museum, is discouraged by his persistently nagging father. Dad, who may be in over his head, is covering for Mom's headache and entertaining young Anton for the day. In the end, Anton and Dad end up under a bridge, banging instruments as loudly as they can, a brief respite in an otherwise grim drama about stamping out a child's every whim. Perhaps it's not meant to be that bleak, but the app's off-kilter hand-drawn look, the use of guillemets (»Don't slurp!« scolds his father) instead of quotation marks and sour adult characters make it a chore, despite some nice illustrations and competent narration. "It's weekend now and we can all rest nicely," Dad says in one typically awkward exchange. The App Store description, which describes a series of "Ridi-Apps," confirms the language issue with proclamations like, "So this Ridi allow your child to tune into a foreign language and learn it" and "Ridis can help a child to bridge waiting times." Those sentences read the way the app feels; like being stuck in a place you can't quite figure out.

Anton's adventure in aural admonition isn't too pleasurable; by the time he gets to make a real racket, the story's already become a jumbled, uncomfortable slog. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 20, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Ridili

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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