Worth its weight in florins, guilders or even Euros.

LITTLE LAMB IN AMSTERDAM

This launch of the Wilsons’ Tiny Tourists app series is an excellent first step to the world.

Here is a little slice of the Netherlands, with enough to give a taste of what more lies ahead of any traveler who cares to make the trip, presented in either English or Dutch. There is a page of history that touches on the ruling family and Dutch colonialism and little “fun facts” in a pop-up strip at the bottom—about canals, tulips, windmills and so on. These do not intrude uninvited upon the storyline of Little Lamb’s bike ride from her van Gogh–esque farm to Amsterdam. The interaction with the application is kept to a minimum; what’s there is sweet and unpredictable (touch a cloud, and it may scud; touch another cloud, and it may vaporize). The artwork of the 25 panels has sophisticated, childlike line and color that avoid busyness. The emphasis is on the windmills, tulips, wooden shoes, Dutch tiles (used as a jigsaw puzzle), houseboats and an atmospheric canal at night fronted by old gabled houses. And Little Lamb’s bicycle squeaks most adorably.

Worth its weight in florins, guilders or even Euros. (iPad storybook app. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 14, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Joshua Wilson

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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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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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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