Technologically and artistically juvenile, but still a taste of good cheeky fun.

READ REVIEW

THE WORST BOOK EVER!

Two unfortunate children are treated to a day of “fun.”

This title offers ample opportunity to teach children the meaning of irony, or, as the author says, to appreciate “inappropriate humor.” The story begins with the female narrator (presumably their mother) asking brother and sister if they’re ready to have fun. She then proceeds to offer up potential activities. “Let’s go to Cousin Sally’s recital!” she says enthusiastically. Touch the twinkling starburst over Sally’s hands, and she begins to bang recklessly on the keyboard. Among other things, Mom suggests going to the doctor (“Maybe it'll be shot day!”) and using stinky portable toilets (complete with tinkling and tooting sounds). Each page offers an interactive element that’s signaled by a starburst; among the oddest are tiny octopi that shower a healthy lunch. There are a few activities that parents may not want to associate with the concept of “worst.” For example, the very nature of the book puts visiting great-grandma, brushing and flossing teeth, putting on sunscreen and doing household chores on the same plane as pulling splinters out of your foot, getting a shot, going bra shopping with Mommy and listening to a baby scream his head off. 

Technologically and artistically juvenile, but still a taste of good cheeky fun. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 13, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: TwizzleTales

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 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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Everyone except die-hard Pig fans may skip this installment.

PIG THE TOURIST

From the Pig the Pug series

People who live in popular spots always complain when human tourists invade, but when the visitor is an unruly dog like Pig the pug, the situation gets even worse.

The big-eyed, ill-behaved pug runs roughshod over everyone: his owner, a brown-skinned woman who remains faceless; Trevor, his owner’s other dog, a big-eyed dachshund (every human and animal has large eyes in Blabey’s amusing illustrations); and all the other people, animals, works of art, and architectural marvels encountered in Pig’s world travels. Pig disrupts a Japanese geisha’s lunch; he angers some scantily clad Caribbean carnival dancers; he breaks the head off the Sphinx in Egypt; and he disturbs the queen’s tea and menaces her prize corgis, prompting the headline: “CHAOS AT THE PALACE: Queen shaken, not stirred.” (Young readers will likely be unmoved by this joke.) Yes, the rhyming text is occasionally clever and the pictures are full of action, but there is nothing original in this skewed presentation of a few of the world’s best-known, stereotypically presented tourist sites. Although Pig does get a well-deserved punishment for his rude behavior (piranhas attack when he least expects it), he still manages to get the last word when he stinks up first class with a very explicitly visual fart. The moral of the story? Leave Pig in the kennel when you travel.

Everyone except die-hard Pig fans may skip this installment. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-59339-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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