Probably best suited for eccentric folks and hipsters.

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BUT WHAT DOES MOMMY DO AT NIGHT?

A particularly odd mix of photographs, graphics and sound bites offers clues about what mommies do when they go out at night.

The title of this app from France may raise a few eyebrows, but the raggedly translated text itself suggests that any dubious ideas or phrases may well be victims of language or cultural differences. Among other things, Mommy likes to “have a wild time with her friends,” confide in them about “her little belly that starts to sag” and chatter about everything from nail polish and shoes to concerns over being fat—all of which may resonate with American mothers, whether they’ll admit it or not. But Mommy also likes going to the theater, eating at a grown-up restaurant or attending a groovy concert. This app gets high marks for originality and quirkiness, and the concept is solid. The text explains Mommy’s “after hours” activities and does a fair job articulating the five w’s: who, what, when, where and why. Some narration is hyperbolically dramatic, particularly the girlfriend party, where tapping each woman prompts dialogue that ranges from desperation to high-pitched fanatical gushing. Each screen is an arbitrary mashup of photo images, illustrations, unsophisticated animations and interactions that will alternately intrigue (at least initially) and baffle readers. At least it’s not boring.

Probably best suited for eccentric folks and hipsters. (iPad storybook app. 5-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Nexemble

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 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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What a wag.

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DOG MAN

What do you get from sewing the head of a smart dog onto the body of a tough police officer? A new superhero from the incorrigible creator of Captain Underpants.

Finding a stack of old Dog Man comics that got them in trouble back in first grade, George and Harold decide to craft a set of new(ish) adventures with (more or less) improved art and spelling. These begin with an origin tale (“A Hero Is Unleashed”), go on to a fiendish attempt to replace the chief of police with a “Robo Chief” and then a temporarily successful scheme to make everyone stupid by erasing all the words from every book (“Book ’Em, Dog Man”), and finish off with a sort of attempted alien invasion evocatively titled “Weenie Wars: The Franks Awaken.” In each, Dog Man squares off against baddies (including superinventor/archnemesis Petey the cat) and saves the day with a clever notion. With occasional pauses for Flip-O-Rama featurettes, the tales are all framed in brightly colored sequential panels with hand-lettered dialogue (“How do you feel, old friend?” “Ruff!”) and narrative. The figures are studiously diverse, with police officers of both genders on view and George, the chief, and several other members of the supporting cast colored in various shades of brown. Pilkey closes as customary with drawing exercises, plus a promise that the canine crusader will be further unleashed in a sequel.

What a wag. (Graphic fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-58160-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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