Luckily, this app was built with plenty of love and care; it may not be a perfectly constructed story, but there are little...

THE GIFT

An unusual, ethereal app uses its slow pace, musical accompaniment and oil-painted illustrations to create a mood that transcends its sometimes-plodding storytelling.

A young boy whose name is never revealed discovers a baby girl floating on a shell by the shore. He picks her up and tries to wake her, but nothing happens. He decides to take the baby to a group of creatures called the Oomorels, who are wise and have magical powers. The seven Oomorels—of all shapes, colors and kinds of fur—take turns trying to determine what the baby may need, from food to drink to shelter. What finally awakens the child is love, in the form of a kiss from the young boy, but until that point the story teases the outcome for a disturbingly long time, creating anxiety that the baby may not be alive. "But her eyes were closed, like she was sleeping," the text reads early in the story, and the baby stays that way for nearly 30 pages. The app's moody illustrations, piano soundtrack and apparently sad main character make for a touching experience. But that spell is nearly broken by a repetitious middle section that's only bearable because of lovely animation and challenging interactions. If it's meant to be a fable, it's one with a very simple message: that a child needs love to awaken and grow.

Luckily, this app was built with plenty of love and care; it may not be a perfectly constructed story, but there are little moments of grace within. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Persian Cat Press

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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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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This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers.

HOW TO CATCH THE EASTER BUNNY

From the How to Catch… series

The bestselling series (How to Catch an Elf, 2016, etc.) about capturing mythical creatures continues with a story about various ways to catch the Easter Bunny as it makes its annual deliveries.

The bunny narrates its own story in rhyming text, beginning with an introduction at its office in a manufacturing facility that creates Easter eggs and candy. The rabbit then abruptly takes off on its delivery route with a tiny basket of eggs strapped to its back, immediately encountering a trap with carrots and a box propped up with a stick. The narrative focuses on how the Easter Bunny avoids increasingly complex traps set up to catch him with no explanation as to who has set the traps or why. These traps include an underground tunnel, a fluorescent dance floor with a hidden pit of carrots, a robot bunny, pirates on an island, and a cannon that shoots candy fish, as well as some sort of locked, hazardous site with radiation danger. Readers of previous books in the series will understand the premise, but others will be confused by the rabbit’s frenetic escapades. Cartoon-style illustrations have a 1960s vibe, with a slightly scary, bow-tied bunny with chartreuse eyes and a glowing palette of neon shades that shout for attention.

This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3817-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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