There’s a great app to be done about the imaginative ways a parent dresses up a story about the day, but this one doesn’t...

MOMMY HURRIES HOME

A rambling story of a parent’s trip home.

Little Alex waits with his nanny every evening for his mother to come home from work; some days she’s home very late. One particularly late evening, Alex’s mother spins a story that begins with being trapped in her office, continues through a trip on a fire engine and a flight on a dragon and ends with a triumphant crane ride across the city. Though the story has an amusing premise, the execution is a mess. The giant expanses of text are either badly translated or poorly edited, with sentences that are clunky or simply sound off. (“Sorry, but we are pressed for time," the firefighters say. “The elephant enclosure is on fire. It’s no monkey business, you know!”) It’s clear attention to detail wasn’t a high priority in creating an app with three language options when a thumbnail image of a page contains the word “Zoo” but the actual page illustration is instead written in Russian. Worse, the illustrations feel crowded with extraneous objects that are livened up only by occasionally witty uses of animation. Mom’s story rambles and rambles, long past the point where any child would have lost patience.

There’s a great app to be done about the imaginative ways a parent dresses up a story about the day, but this one doesn’t arrive fully formed . (iPad storybook app. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Glowberry Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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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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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