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 sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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