Grownups on a quest to teach youngsters table manners will enjoy this app (probably rather more than the children it is...



A princess and dragon learn manners in a pleasant-enough medieval adventure.

Princess Rosalind and Sparkler the Dragon have such terrible table manners that the Queen threatens to banish the dragon unless they find “Good Manners” in just three days. Percival the wizard helps them on their journey by instructing the Princess in how to correctly grasp a magic fork stuck in a rock. Thus begins a tongue-in-cheek Arthurian adventure in which the duo completes challenges that deal mainly with table manners but also with “magic words” and kindness toward others. Engaging graphics, slurping and burping sound effects and a smattering of animation and interactivity will appeal to kids and grownups alike, though they cannot conceal the essentially didactic nature of the effort. The words are highlighted as the narrator (attempting a British accent with mixed results) speaks, helping early readers follow along with the text. Each page has a touch button that opens up a boxed scroll featuring additional etiquette history and trivia. Some tips—“You wait [to eat] until the host says you may begin or if your host begins to eat”—are helpful, while others—“You get in and out of your chair on the right side”—are likely to confirm Rosalind’s disdain for etiquette.

Grownups on a quest to teach youngsters table manners will enjoy this app (probably rather more than the children it is aimed at, though).   (iPad storybook app. 3-8)

Pub Date: July 9, 2011


Page Count: -

Publisher: TaleSpring, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 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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