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...

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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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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