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


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


Page Count: -

Publisher: TwizzleTales

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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Hee haw.

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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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