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

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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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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