Rooney's story is one any kid, super-powered or not, can identify with, and the app does everything it can to make his story...

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BRAVE ROONEY

An amusing, cleverly told story that plays off the glut of superheroes in pop culture benefits tremendously from an app design that's just as fun and engaging.

Rooney ("Not Captain Rooney or Commander Rooney, just plain old Rooney") is the new kid at a school full of caped, masked superhero kids. His home straddles the line between Majesticville and Normalville, and he's sent to school with no powers of flight, X-ray vision or super strength. But when a National Poetry Week event calls on the students to read an original poem, the super-powered kids balk... and Rooney comes to the rescue. Soon he's celebrated for his own unlikely superpower: the ability to give a speech without withering away from the assignment as if it were Kryponite. It's an imaginative take on fitting in at school; Rooney, an oft-injured kid who frequently visits the school nurse hired on solely for his benefit, makes a great main character. The hand-drawn scenes are packed with background details and colorful supporting characters (as in a great opening scene of Majesticville residents displaying their powers to sweep streets and deliver newspapers). Music, narration and animation that springs to life when the screen is pressed are all expertly handled. There's even a useful screen of settings that allow for more control over interactions; it would be nice if all storybook apps gave the option to disable accidental page turns or to control the volume of narration, sound effects and music separately.

Rooney's story is one any kid, super-powered or not, can identify with, and the app does everything it can to make his story into an enjoyably playful experience. (iPad storybook app. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bacciz

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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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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