Overdone and unevenly baked.

READ REVIEW

YUMMY TUMMY

An app about a child learning to cook has some charming moments, but they’re mixed together to bad effect with unfortunate design and writing choices.

When Lisa is given a set of children’s dishware for her sixth birthday, she begins preparing toy food for her stuffed animals and dolls. Her mother shows Lisa how to make real meals, guiding her in a primer of ingredients, kitchen tools, hygiene and safety. It’s a good, detailed set of lessons. Some pages appear as colorful lists on a background of notebook paper. Other pages show Lisa and her mother interacting in the kitchen with food and appliances while the child’s toys look on. But too many pages are filled with overlong, unbroken blocks of text, and generic, ugly navigation buttons at the bottom of each page work against the entertaining artwork. The juxtaposition of well-designed pages with plenty of animations and wit against more inert pages emphasizes ho-hum writing and derails what could have been a focused, entertaining story. At one point in one of these text-heavy pages, Lisa’s mother says, “Well, I see you are pretty bored with all this talking. Let’s do something more exciting!” Oh, the irony.

Overdone and unevenly baked. (iPad storybook app. 5-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Glowberry Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

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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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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