A dreamy story of lost, found and abiding affection in the Arctic. (iPad storybook app. 4-7)



Two polar bear cubs meet and scan the evening sky for a special star.

Theo is a polar bear out trooping around in the snowy wild of the far north when he happens across another cub, Lena, who is patiently sitting in the snow. Lena tells Theo that she is waiting for the night to see her mother, who is now a star. Theo catches the drift when he remembers that his parents told him that his deceased grandparents were stars. Theo offers to join Lena in her vigil, and, together, night falls around them and the stars come out. This is a wistful and rather stiff story, but in its simplicity there is a sense that the future is wide and open and that memories will always be part of it. The app is designed to look like a book, with text on the right and a looping animated video on the left. There is no interaction with the video other than to set it in play, and it does a good job depicting the ghostly, bluish light of the northlands, with awesome snow peaks and what looks like really cold water. Occasionally the narrator will fumble a line, but the mishaps will keep early readers on their toes, and there is a record-your-own-narration option available.

A dreamy story of lost, found and abiding affection in the Arctic. (iPad storybook app. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 23, 2013


Page Count: -

Publisher: Stella 28

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


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

Did you like this book?

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

  • Caldecott Honor Book


Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet