With some quick fixes, this one could become closer to Real and worthy of a young reader's love. (iPad storybook app. 5-8)

READ REVIEW

THE VELVETEEN RABBIT

This serviceable iPad version of the classic stumbles, primarily over some fixable mistakes.

XiMAD Inc.'s version of the story, one of two takes on it currently available for the iPad, attempts to be as visually lush and inviting as Williams' tear-jerking text. By that measure, it mostly succeeds. For 31 pages (including the title screen) it's a lovely app, soft but precise, with the kinds of spring-loaded on-screen objects, tilt features and smartly integrated text that Alice for the iPad (2010) set the bar for shortly after the device debuted. But the elegance is lost whenever jarring, ugly pop-up ads appear in the free version of the app, covering the controls and interrupting the story. The ads aren't for other children's books or even toys (velveteen or otherwise); they're primarily for PC utilities unlikely to appeal to this tale's audience. Less forgiveable is a glaring problem late in the story: One paragraph of text is repeated from a prior page, and another paragraph is completely missing, pulling the stuffing out of an important story point. Other than those two major problems and, of lesser importance, a lack of options beyond turning the background music off, this adaptation works. At least it works much better than the Ruckus Mobile Media version in the App Store, a dated, unsatisfying rendition that this one easily bests.

With some quick fixes, this one could become closer to Real and worthy of a young reader's love. (iPad storybook app. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 18, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: XIMAD

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 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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The goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long.

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THE SERIOUS GOOSE

Bet you can’t make this goose smile, no matter how hard you try.

TV personality Kimmel’s first foray into picture books presents a feathered grump with a scowl that is proof against any kind of foolery: Try putting a chicken on her head, dressing her as a moose, or even trucking in a snail pizza—this goose won’t crack. Breaking now and again into verse, he challenges readers to give it a try in a foil mirror: “Cluck like a chicken / moo like a cow / be doofy, be goofy / any way you know how”—and sure enough, eventually a grin bursts out to replace the grimace despite a multipage struggle to hold it in, and off prances the goose in a pair of (gender-bending) tighty whities. Yes, she’s become “a SILLY goose (thanks to you),” the narrator proclaims, and what’s more, “YOU are a silly kid.” A hand-lettered narrative in block printing big enough to take up most of the space accompanies thick-lined cartoon views of a goosey glare that dares readers to crank up the volume, and the last page turn reveals a final tweak that may add a few grown-up voices to the younger chorus of giggles.

The goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-70775-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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