A healthy spoonful of creepiness softened by the charming weakness of the characters.

NAAILDE THE WITCH

A self-important witch who haunts a small village gets her comeuppance—and her revenge, too.

Naailde is a scrofulous, mischievous character of international repute in the world of witches—she can transform into 1,897 different hideous monsters—who lives in a mansion infested with all manner of infernal creatures, “in a dark and horrifying forest.” An elegant gentleman comes knocking at her door one eve and asks to spend the night—a red flag Naailde misses in her eagerness to scare his pants off. All to no avail; the dandy will have none of her most wily and gruesome guises. He even criticizes her technique. What’s more, he—now revealed as “a” devil—sends her packing...until she returns as a she-devil, though she’ll always be Naailde underneath. This app is long enough to provide a wealth of textual and visual narration, giving it unusual depth. The text is narrated by a voice that verges on the eerie, and the lightly animated, sketchlike artwork is an artful mare’s nest of black linework, though red and purple color starts to leak in with the arrival of the guest. The story comes to an ambiguous close, leaving readers to wonder if the red and purple ribbons of smoke coming from the chimney are a sign of togetherness or immolation.

A healthy spoonful of creepiness softened by the charming weakness of the characters. (Requires iOS 6 and above.) (iPad storybook app. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Ivan Annibali

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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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 DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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