Some kids may enjoy the mishmash of loud photos and unremarkable storytelling, but parents will want to sidestep this...

GRANDMAMA'S WORLD

An unfortunate mix of jarringly jumbled artwork, tepid text and general overstimulation, this visit to "Grandmama" feels at times like it will never end.

Attempts at whimsy in this celebration of the best place in the world—Grandmama's home—are forced to the point of causing eyestrain. Each page is a cluttered collection of photo-collaged images creating tableaux that are at times as nightmarish as they are imaginative. On one page, colorful birds fly around a rock sculpture in a Technicolor desert where Grandmama lives, while a kangaroo pushes a stroller and a child appears to be fleeing in terror. The most interesting visual effect is that the surface of the busy collages can be moved with the finger to create a tilting 3-D effect, making all the people, animals and objects on the screen appear to exist on multiple planes. But the "wow" factor of that admittedly neat feature subsides as it's paired with such lackluster couplets as, "We paint pictures and then later / Hang them on her fridgerator." The text is tiny (even when set at the largest font size available) and appears in a giant, ugly white strip along the bottom of every page. Though one little boy narrates the story throughout, the photos of people appear to be of different families and different Grandmamas, adding to the garish chaos. 

Some kids may enjoy the mishmash of loud photos and unremarkable storytelling, but parents will want to sidestep this unpleasant app. (iPad storybook app. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 17, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: NeeNee Holdings

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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Hee haw.

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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 terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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