The little monsters in this family seem happy, loved and well-adjusted. They’re worth a visit.

READ REVIEW

MONSTER MORNING

The morning rituals of little school-bound monsters are examined in friendly detail in an app structured like a family scrapbook.

Peter and Peril, monster siblings with very different personalities, get up at dawn to start their day, then eat breakfast, get cleaned up, pack their things in backpacks and board a rocket ship. Each step is shown on a page with touch options to help them along (getting Peril dressed, for instance, or feeding Peter his bug-laden breakfast). The pages are lined with bright borders within which readers will find movable doo-dads like buttons, birds, and the mom and dad monsters. Their nonthreatening world is filled with polka dots, flower patterns and familiar routines, setting a soothing tone for even very young readers who may be ambivalent about spending time with even these harmless-looking monsters. It’s easy to navigate, well-narrated and offers rhymes that don’t overstay their welcome and only occasionally reach too far (“Peter and Peril are ready to go. / You’ve helped them out from head to toe. / That’s not an easy thing to undergo. / They’re so happy you helped them, you know”). 

The little monsters in this family seem happy, loved and well-adjusted. They’re worth a visit. (iPad storybook app. 2-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 20, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Purple Ely

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 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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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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