Edsel, a red-headed, blue-eyed boy, orders a life-sized model car in the mail. His room is filled with toy cars, auto...

EDSEL MACFARLAN'S NEW CAR

Automotively named Edsel McFarlan loves model cars and has a thrilling high-octane adventure when the toy of his dreams arrives in this visually zippy app that ultimately fails to kick into high gear on the interactive lane.

Edsel, a red-headed, blue-eyed boy, orders a life-sized model car in the mail. His room is filled with toy cars, auto posters, hubcaps and license plates. In the slickly illustrated pages of the app, based on a 2010 book, Edsel's delighted grins and body language lovingly capture the laser-focused obsession of a young boy in love with a hobby. When Edsel finishes his new model and takes it for a spin through town, the story amusingly follows Edsel through (seemingly harmless) trips through back yards, across an intersection and into a construction site. The intentionally simple and direct text ("The steering wheel turned the front tires") are a counterweight to the packed illustrations, which feature many background details, characters and life-like clutter. If only the app was as attention-oriented. The too-straightforward adaptation features narration and displays the names of objects on screen aloud, but that's about the extent of its interactivity. Such a motion-filled story could have benefited from a little animation or at least the inclusion of sound effects. (Pages that feature sound effects like "SNAP" or "KAR-EEK" spelled out in text cry out for aural accompaniment.) 

Pub Date: June 8, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Auryn

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning.

THE MAGICAL YET

Children realize their dreams one step at a time in this story about growth mindset.

A child crashes and damages a new bicycle on a dark, rainy day. Attempting a wheelie, the novice cyclist falls onto the sidewalk, grimacing, and, having internalized this setback as failure, vows to never ride again but to “walk…forever.” Then the unnamed protagonist happens upon a glowing orb in the forest, a “thought rearranger-er”—a luminous pink fairy called the Magical Yet. This Yet reminds the child of past accomplishments and encourages perseverance. The second-person rhyming couplets remind readers that mistakes are part of learning and that with patience and effort, children can achieve. Readers see the protagonist learn to ride the bike before a flash-forward shows the child as a capable college graduate confidently designing a sleek new bike. This book shines with diversity: racial, ethnic, ability, and gender. The gender-indeterminate protagonist has light brown skin and exuberant curly locks; Amid the bustling secondary cast, one child uses a prosthesis, and another wears hijab. At no point in the text is the Yet defined as a metaphor for a growth mindset; adults reading with younger children will likely need to clarify this abstract lesson. The artwork is powerful and detailed—pay special attention to the endpapers that progress to show the Yet at work.

A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-02562-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion/LBYR

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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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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