This multilingual app offers appealing visuals and worthy subject matter, but its disjointed, oft-times heavy-handed...

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VINCENT THE ANTEATER'S SPACE VOYAGE

This tale about a space-traveling anteater aspires to educate kids about the environmental dangers of consumerism.

Vincent, an animated felt creature that moves much like the characters in old stop-motion shorts, is a “science-minded” anteater. His favorite food is Green Hairy Ants, and they are in short supply in his tropical forest. His friends suggest dancing under the Great Cosmic Anteater in the sky to get the ants to return, but Vincent isn’t buying anything but a scientific approach. (While the whole creation/evolution debate isn’t explicitly explored, an unmistakable theme of science vs. religion runs throughout the story.) When Vincent builds a rocket and embarks on a quest to find the Cosmic Anteater, a screen with nine planet icons appears, each offering a vignette and subsequent tip that are designed to appeal to kids’ ecological consciences. After making “green” suggestions on each planet, Vincent finally reaches a place of enlightenment. There is no Great Cosmic Anteater. The illustrations are stunning and quite distinctive, but the overall interactive design may frustrate. The first page does not advance until all four interactions (signaled with twinkles) are found; both these and those that follow feel arbitrary, but at least subsequent pages advance without forcing readers to find all embedded interactions.

This multilingual app offers appealing visuals and worthy subject matter, but its disjointed, oft-times heavy-handed approach keeps it from soaring. (iPad storybook app. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 10, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: El Pudú Studios

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers.

HOW TO CATCH THE EASTER BUNNY

From the How to Catch… series

The bestselling series (How to Catch an Elf, 2016, etc.) about capturing mythical creatures continues with a story about various ways to catch the Easter Bunny as it makes its annual deliveries.

The bunny narrates its own story in rhyming text, beginning with an introduction at its office in a manufacturing facility that creates Easter eggs and candy. The rabbit then abruptly takes off on its delivery route with a tiny basket of eggs strapped to its back, immediately encountering a trap with carrots and a box propped up with a stick. The narrative focuses on how the Easter Bunny avoids increasingly complex traps set up to catch him with no explanation as to who has set the traps or why. These traps include an underground tunnel, a fluorescent dance floor with a hidden pit of carrots, a robot bunny, pirates on an island, and a cannon that shoots candy fish, as well as some sort of locked, hazardous site with radiation danger. Readers of previous books in the series will understand the premise, but others will be confused by the rabbit’s frenetic escapades. Cartoon-style illustrations have a 1960s vibe, with a slightly scary, bow-tied bunny with chartreuse eyes and a glowing palette of neon shades that shout for attention.

This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3817-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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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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