A perfect choice for those who value weak potty humor, a hollow story and uninspiring animation and interaction. Others...

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RANDY THE DAYDREAMING DOG

After his master leaves for work, a dog passes the time by daydreaming.

This book is one of a handful recently published by TaleSpring, a do-it-yourself platform whereby authors can build their own interactive apps. The premise of this particular story has everything going for it; dreaming big and exercising one’s imagination has been preached everywhere from the classroom to the boardroom. However, this app isn’t going to accomplish much to that end. The artwork features bright, vivid illustrations and sharp angular objects that exhibit beautifully on the tablet screen. Beyond that, it subscribes to the lowest common denominator on every front. Randy the dog spends his time in a daydream-like state in which “anything is possible.” He travels to outer space, where readers can touch stars to summon planets that burp, pass gas and say things like “What?” and “How you doin’?” in their best Joey Tribbiani voices. An elephant has an ethnic identity crisis, and a bunny exclaims, “That’s stinky,” with no context whatsoever. Narration is prompted on a page-by-page basis and sounds like it was recorded in a cave; on at least one occasion there’s audible background noise.

A perfect choice for those who value weak potty humor, a hollow story and uninspiring animation and interaction. Others would do well to set their alarms before this dream takes shape. (iPad storybook app. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: TaleSpring, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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