Wonderfully cinematic and surreal for readers willing to go with Alvin’s flow.

READ REVIEW

THE JOURNEY OF ALVIN

Alvin rides his old mower to visit his brother, taking a slow journey across a beautiful landscape and enjoying the ride.

This artful storybook app combines soothing narration, measured pacing and striking use of colors to create a pleasurable, cinematic experience for young readers. As Alvin slowly bumps along, an eclectic assortment of vehicles pass him—from “the farmer’s stinky truck” to “music-making bicycles” ringing their bells. Alvin lives in the moment, never bothered by his slow speed. “By going at this speed, so slowly, so slowly… / he could hear the concert provided by the chirping birds, / and the animals of the forest.” Composed of geometric shapes, the illustrations have a decidedly retro look, and yet the color scheme is thoroughly modern, filled with subdued complementary colors. Text and narration are available in English and Spanish, with easy controls. Sound effects and music help immerse readers in the slow-moving scenes. A few inconsistencies may nag at literal-minded youngsters. Readers are told Alvin has a white beard, and yet the illustrations show it to be yellow. When the turtle momentarily hunkers down in its shell, it continues to move even though it is not walking. The setting transitions from a desert plateau to a seaside town briefly without any discussion.

Wonderfully cinematic and surreal for readers willing to go with Alvin’s flow. (iPad storybook app. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: meikme

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more