The wolf isn’t the only one who should be embarrassed by this misguided, pedantic, poorly designed rendition.

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THE TALE OF LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD

A thoroughly sanitized retelling (sandwiched between pop-up advertisements for another app) linked to stylized illustrations that are probably intended to be sweet but are actually strange and eerie.

This retelling finds Little Red fleeing from her granny’s cottage, pursued by the wolf—who, after being clubbed by the woodsman and having his jaws “prised open” so that Granny can dance out, slinks off “embarrassed and ashamed.” In sharp contrast to this gooey version of the familiar plot, the art veers off into disturbing territory. Sporting enormous, glassy eyes in an oversized rectangular face, Little Red Riding Hood skips through a retro pastel forest as the menacing wolf oozes like a shaggy snake up a twisty path to the cottage. He devours Granny in a sudden whirl and then springs open-mawed after his second intended victim. Aside from a few tap-activated sound effects and floaty animations keyed by flashing outlines, the only interactive feature is a tantalizingly large “X” in the corner of each screen. Touching this abruptly restarts the story, bringing up an introductory page on which, along with auto-advance and manual-viewing options, a “Learn” mode introduces occasional quizzes interjected by the British-accented narrator: “There is a clue to show that the wolf is in Granny’s cottage. Can you find it? That’s right, it’s his tail.”

The wolf isn’t the only one who should be embarrassed by this misguided, pedantic, poorly designed rendition. (iPad storybook app. 4-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 21, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Mindshapes

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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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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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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