By the end, readers may be as exhausted as Little Critter’s beleaguered dad, who does all the driving, natch, but they will...



Little Critter, Little Sister and their parents take a meandering trip to Lake Wakatookee in this busy app.

Each page opens with the narrator reading a few lines of text, and then interactions are unlocked. Touching color-coded hotspots triggers animations, loads Little Critter’s backpack, rereads text and brings up alphabet flashcards (“R. Raccoon. Raccoon begins with R”). Once all of the hotspots have been explored, readers can advance to the next screen and are occasionally prompted to choose the route. It’s a predictably circuitous and eventful trip, including an overheated engine, a stop at an ice cream stand and an inexplicable detour to the beach. Animations that open and close each page and tap-activated dialogue (“How do you spell pineapple?” queries Mom pedantically. “It’s a compound word: pine apple.” “Moo-oom!” protest the kids) supplement the bare-bones plot. Indeed, so much is going on, what with interactions and animations, it’s a good thing there’s so little to the actual story. Six additional games punctuate the journey; completing them all successfully unlocks a “fun surprise.” The app is not for readers who wish to blaze through, instead rewarding lingerers amply. (There is a static “Just Read” mode for those who wish to bypass the extra doodads.)

By the end, readers may be as exhausted as Little Critter’s beleaguered dad, who does all the driving, natch, but they will feel like they’ve done something . (iPad storybook app. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 19, 2013


Page Count: -

Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2013

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Give this child’s-eye view of a day at the beach with an attentive father high marks for coziness: “When your ball blows across the sand and into the ocean and starts to drift away, your daddy could say, Didn’t I tell you not to play too close to the waves? But he doesn’t. He wades out into the cold water. And he brings your ball back to the beach and plays roll and catch with you.” Alley depicts a moppet and her relaxed-looking dad (to all appearances a single parent) in informally drawn beach and domestic settings: playing together, snuggling up on the sofa and finally hugging each other goodnight. The third-person voice is a bit distancing, but it makes the togetherness less treacly, and Dad’s mix of love and competence is less insulting, to parents and children both, than Douglas Wood’s What Dads Can’t Do (2000), illus by Doug Cushman. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 23, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-00361-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2005

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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. 28, 2018

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