It's likely young readers who pick up this well-made app will be learning about both Bollywood and red pandas for the first...

LALOO THE RED PANDA

The adventure of a lost, rare red panda cub trying to find his way home is expertly packed with Indian culture, energetic artwork and engaging characters.

Laloo, who looks more like a fox than a traditional, burly, black-and-white panda, loves bugs, to the puzzlement of those around him. One day, a poacher traps and takes Laloo, but the cub is able to escape. From there, Laloo tries to get back to his family and is aided by a famous dog actor named Scrilla and his friends. The journey is made entertaining by its settings: Laloo crashes the set of a Bollywood movie, runs through a market where the vendors are "selling silk scarves and spicy eggs in sizzling pans," and travels home on a decorated purple train. He also collects bugs he finds along the way; readers tap the bugs to add them to a collection. The text could be cleaner in terms of punctuation and grammar, but the story itself is fun, the narration is sprightly and Laloo's persistent worry that he doesn't fit in is certainly universal. But it's the presentation of life in India that makes the app most worthy of recommendation. The clean, beautifully colored artwork is vibrant and inviting. Laloo's world has lots of characters, perhaps too many for one story. Some barely get a page or two, leaving room for further tales of Laloo and his friends.

It's likely young readers who pick up this well-made app will be learning about both Bollywood and red pandas for the first time—and they will be glad they did. (iPad storybook app. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Laloo LLC

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2012

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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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