In bright, heavily brushed painted illustrations, bright-green Veronica Sue poses in comfy dress along with other family...

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THE BODY LANGUAGE OF VERONICA SUE

A plump and (generally) cheery frog models sneezes and sighs, giggles, slumps, growls and other common bodily signals.

In bright, heavily brushed painted illustrations, bright-green Veronica Sue poses in comfy dress along with other family members in a variety of simply rendered indoor and outdoor settings. These paintings deftly incorporate select but well-placed small animations, sound effects and touch-activated balls, flies or other items. Two to four lines of rhymed comment on each manually advanced screen provide explanatory glosses for her sounds, expressions or gestures—“Her tummy says ‘GRRRRR’ when it’s ready to eat. / Her tastebuds say ‘YUM’ when they find something sweet.” Uncertain new readers can get a chirpy audio reading of that page alone by tapping a speaker icon in the corner. A house icon in another corner opens a strip of relatively large thumbnail images for quick backing and forthing. The app isn’t immune to crashes, and the text could use copy editing—Veronica Sue “let’s [sic] out a GASP” at one point, and “tastebuds” is usually two words. Moreover, children with a cognitive disability may have trouble picking up Veronica Sue’s relatively understated cues. Nevertheless, this introduction to nonverbal language is likely to spark both better self-awareness and further discussion.

Pub Date: May 19, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: My Black Dog Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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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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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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