Although the individual elements of this app work well, the story bangs children over the head with its message: Behave or...

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LUCY GRACE

ROTTEN

If only life were as simple as this.

Lucy Grace throws tantrums left and right, breaking her toys, drawing on the walls and shredding her books. “Her mom and dad, though quite displeased, never punished Lucy Grace. / They argued that they couldn’t stand to see her crying face.” So it is no surprise that Lucy Grace turns into a monster, a spoiled brat with green teeth and wild hair. With unsatisfying simplicity, Lucy Grace’s parents turn the situation around by simply showing her how to make her bed. They do not “let her whine or pout,” and voilà: “She changed the way she acted!” Really? This story lacks the humor of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, but it also lacks the understanding that good relationships take hard work on all sides. Digital artwork adds humor, and simple interactive elements engage young readers without distracting them. The tenor of the narration is pleasing, but the sound effects occasionally overlap and overshadow the narration. The rhythm and rhyme are generally pleasing, and young readers will appreciate the pacing of the text and narration.

Although the individual elements of this app work well, the story bangs children over the head with its message: Behave or else you’ll turn into a spoiled brat . (iPad storybook app. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Kayu Interactive

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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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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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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