The global-village theme has a lot of potential, but this rendering doesn’t do it justice. A little more effort would go a...

HELLO TO THE MOON!

A lunar lesson about global community.

Everyone on the planet sees the same moon. So, in theory, the moon is a cosmic intermediary that can help readers feel connected to others—whether it’s a parent we’re missing, or a kid we’ve never even met. The app's illustrations appear to be photographs that have been enhanced by digital software. Each page contains one tap-activated “animation”—photographs that appear or rudimentary graphics that haltingly come and go (though none can be triggered until the narration is complete). The story itself is told in rhyme, and as is the case with many rhyming storybook apps, the verse is often tedious and uninspiring. The idea that the author is apparently trying to convey is creative and communicates a message that could be helpful to some. But the content shifts focus enough that it weakens the thesis. For example, after a quick side note about how grandmas don’t like to be called old, the text reads, “Back to the moon and it’s amazing effects…” After one observation about kids in Pakistan seeing the same moon Americans do, attention turns to stars, the sun and the ocean. Advancing pages sometimes takes multiple taps, as does prompting other features.

The global-village theme has a lot of potential, but this rendering doesn’t do it justice. A little more effort would go a long way. (iPad storybook app. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 25, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Matchbook Digital LLC

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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Hee haw.

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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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Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles.

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YOU MATTER

Employing a cast of diverse children reminiscent of that depicted in Another (2019), Robinson shows that every living entity has value.

After opening endpapers that depict an aerial view of a busy playground, the perspective shifts to a black child, ponytails tied with beaded elastics, peering into a microscope. So begins an exercise in perspective. From those bits of green life under the lens readers move to “Those who swim with the tide / and those who don’t.” They observe a “pest”—a mosquito biting a dinosaur, a “really gassy” planet, and a dog whose walker—a child in a pink hijab—has lost hold of the leash. Periodically, the examples are validated with the titular refrain. Textured paint strokes and collage elements contrast with uncluttered backgrounds that move from white to black to white. The black pages in the middle portion foreground scenes in space, including a black astronaut viewing Earth; the astronaut is holding an image of another black youngster who appears on the next spread flying a toy rocket and looking lonely. There are many such visual connections, creating emotional interest and invitations for conversation. The story’s conclusion spins full circle, repeating opening sentences with new scenarios. From the microscopic to the cosmic, word and image illuminate the message without a whiff of didacticism.

Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2169-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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