Just telling the story in simple prose is the only upgrade that could save this app.

READ REVIEW

AMAZONAS

IN SEARCH OF MOTHER NATURE

A trip down an Amazonian river is sunk by forced and awkward rhyming text. 

Roberto takes a river trip in the Amazon rainforest hoping to spot Mother Nature. Along the way, he meets up with some fascinating creatures but never quite spots her. In the end, he finally realizes that he did find Mother Nature because “she is in everything, and she is everywhere.” The art is pedestrian, although the animation introduces some interesting perspectives. There are some good interactive effects, such as the ability to move a firefly lantern around a page to light up areas of the screen. The app is narrated in English, Spanish or Portuguese. The addition of a map for self-direction is a nice touch, although it is missing a way to navigate to the beginning of the story. The text includes some interesting tidbits, but the rhyme and rhythm make the story hard to listen to and nearly impossible to read aloud: “Look all around, and smile off that frown. / Alligators look mean but you don’t need to scream, / ’cause the light really makes them calm down.” Moreover, there are no sources or notes to indicate whether any of the assertions in the story are factual or not.

Just telling the story in simple prose is the only upgrade that could save this app.   (iPad storybook app. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 2, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Studio Malatesta

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

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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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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