For preschoolers and young grade-schoolers willing to mine its many treasures, this app is a gem.



When Sylvester’s band members don’t show up for a scheduled gig, Henry the raccoon saves the day by finding them and leading them back to Firefly Forest.

It’s finally time for a party that will feature Sylvester’s band. Henry the raccoon finds the other animals busily preparing for the festivities, but no one will let him help. In fact, they consider him a clumsy nuisance. When he learns that the concert is cancelled due to AWOL band members, he hunts them down so that the show can go on. The characters in the story look more like the wildly popular Uglydolls than they do animals, which for many will add to their appeal. Illustrations are stunning, and the interactive and animated elements are brilliantly designed. Among many other things, little fingers can capture fireflies, tickle animals’ feet, strum instruments and control the speed at which characters travel, work and play. There are plenty of tilt features, and the read-to-me option is narrated by full-time voice pro Bob Barnes. The app’s initial load time is a bit sluggish, but once it’s launched all elements reliably go off without a hitch—and it’s well worth the wait. Although the developer labels this app for ages 2-8, it really calls for more patience than most toddlers can manage.

For preschoolers and young grade-schoolers willing to mine its many treasures, this app is a gem. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 27, 2011


Page Count: -

Publisher: Uncle Handsalt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 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 must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself.

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School-age children encounter and overcome feelings of difference from their peers in the latest picture book from Woodson.

This nonlinear story centers on Angelina, with big curly hair and brown skin, as she begins the school year with a class share-out of summer travels. Text and illustrations effectively work together to convey her feelings of otherness as she reflects on her own summer spent at home: “What good is this / when others were flying,” she ponders while leaning out her city window forlornly watching birds fly past to seemingly faraway places. López’s incorporation of a ruler for a door, table, and tree into the illustrations creatively extends the metaphor of measuring up to others. Three other children—Rigoberto, a recent immigrant from Venezuela; a presumably Korean girl with her “too strange” lunch of kimchi, meat, and rice; and a lonely white boy in what seems to be a suburb—experience more-direct teasing for their outsider status. A bright jewel-toned palette and clever details, including a literal reflection of a better future, reveal hope and pride in spite of the taunting. This reassuring, lyrical book feels like a big hug from a wise aunt as she imparts the wisdom of the world in order to calm trepidatious young children: One of these things is not like the other, and that is actually what makes all the difference.

A must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-24653-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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