Clad in oversized glasses and purple flannels, Simone courageously takes on a succession of attackers. They all revert to...

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SIMONE AND THE NIGHT'S MONSTERS

A miserly set of badly designed interactive effects sinks this tale of an intrepid lad doing nightly battle with a green monster, a giant spider and other bedtime foes.

Clad in oversized glasses and purple flannels, Simone courageously takes on a succession of attackers. They all revert to toys or other domestic items each time his increasingly irritated mother looks in to settle him down, but in a twist at the end she dragoons them into cleaning up the mess next morning after the boy leaves for school. Buttons offer viewers either a straight up, no-audio reading or a “Watch” mode that still has no narration but adds appropriate sound effects and a short, non-repeatable animation to each page. Neither includes an auto-advance option. In “Watch” mode, a spread gesture will expand the watercolor cartoon illustration to full-screen size—but to no evident purpose, since the text then vanishes and the animation still doesn’t run more than once. The opening screen also offers an option to assign new names to every character, but the protagonist has to remain a boy since the names will change in the text but the pronouns don’t. Mercer Mayer set the standard for bedroom brangles long ago, though There's a Nightmare in My Closet, There's a Crocodile Under My Bed and the rest still haven’t made the transition to the digital domain.

Pub Date: March 4, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Simiula

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 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 goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long.

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THE SERIOUS GOOSE

Bet you can’t make this goose smile, no matter how hard you try.

TV personality Kimmel’s first foray into picture books presents a feathered grump with a scowl that is proof against any kind of foolery: Try putting a chicken on her head, dressing her as a moose, or even trucking in a snail pizza—this goose won’t crack. Breaking now and again into verse, he challenges readers to give it a try in a foil mirror: “Cluck like a chicken / moo like a cow / be doofy, be goofy / any way you know how”—and sure enough, eventually a grin bursts out to replace the grimace despite a multipage struggle to hold it in, and off prances the goose in a pair of (gender-bending) tighty whities. Yes, she’s become “a SILLY goose (thanks to you),” the narrator proclaims, and what’s more, “YOU are a silly kid.” A hand-lettered narrative in block printing big enough to take up most of the space accompanies thick-lined cartoon views of a goosey glare that dares readers to crank up the volume, and the last page turn reveals a final tweak that may add a few grown-up voices to the younger chorus of giggles.

The goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-70775-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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