The Runaway Radish (who, spoiler alert, doesn't exactly make it out of the story intact) is entertainingly chaotic, and this...



From the StoryChimes series

Although markedly different in tone and style from most iPad storybook apps (though no less worthy), this English-and-Spanish tale of a food sculptor and a mischievous, fast-moving root vegetable is fun and has some features that make it worth multiple readings.

When Don Pedro tries to sculpt an elaborate scene, including a castle and knights, out of radishes, one of the veggies springs to life and runs for the hills. The ensuing chase, which eventually involves a donkey, a group of mariachi musicians, a chef and a street vendor is silly enough. But the reality-bending illustrations are appropriately over-the-top, and the giant radish's cry—"Places to go, people to see. / Out of my way, you can't carve ME!"—is catchy. In addition to the usual interactive features, including optional narration, a pop-up page index and mute-able background audio, it has two good options for younger readers. It can be read in English and Spanish and even includes bilingual flash cards for some of the words used in the story. But best of all, its "English learner" and "Spanish learner" options slow down the tempo of the narration, making it easier to follow along with the text. If there's a quibble with the app it's that the text's font itself is too small and doesn't serve the style of the art well. A matching game is included.

The Runaway Radish (who, spoiler alert, doesn't exactly make it out of the story intact) is entertainingly chaotic, and this “Gingerbread Man” variant is a good effort in both Spanish and English. (iPad storybook app. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 19, 2011


Page Count: -

Publisher: Siena Entertainment

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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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 lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends


From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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