A winning app that could easily be deemed the jazz version of The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. Smooth.

READ REVIEW

A JAZZY DAY

This highly user-friendly primer gives kids both a macro and micro lesson about jazz music.

Papa kitty wakes up his children with the exciting news that they’re going to visit a jazz band. After a yummy breakfast, off they go. First, they encounter a hip raccoon who plays a mean bass. Brother and sister cat also observe a fox playing drums, a goose tickling the ivories and a squirrel playing a groovy guitar riff. The story explores a wide variety of instruments, including the vibraphone, trumpets, trombones, three different saxophones, the flute and the clarinet. Turning the page activates instrument demos, though some launch more quickly than others. Touching band members elicits repeated demo performances, and if tapped all at once, they play at the same time. The young felines offer commentary when tapped, and the text itself provides helpful insight into the basic theory of jazz and the various categories of instruments that comprise a jazz band (brass and rhythm sections, for example). One page even highlights various sections as they chime in. The clever bonus games prompt kids to guess which instrument is making which sound, and it also quizzes them by asking them to match the names to the instruments.

A winning app that could easily be deemed the jazz version of The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. Smooth. (iPad storybook app. 2-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 13, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: The Melody Book

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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