An assortment of tap-activated giggling elves, color changes and sound effects adorning the cartoon illustrations don’t...

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SANTA AND THE CHRISTMAS LIST MUDDLE

A muddle indeed, this unstable and badly designed holiday minitale will spread more frustration than cheer.

In the nonsensical storyline, Santa has only just returned from his Christmas rounds when the head elf discovers that the pages of the toy-delivery list have been mixed up. Santa dispatches seven elf-driven sleighs to the various continents to make amends—leading to a simple matching game in which viewers can select only Europe, Australia or North America on a world map. The text differs slightly depending on the choice, but the quartet of child recipients (all white) and gifts to be dragged into place are the same for each. The app has a strong tendency to crash at various points or if paged too quickly—and there’s no thumbnail index, so the story has to be started from the beginning every time. Moreover, instructions for the first matching game (putting elves in their sleighs) sometimes appear a screen or two beyond the game itself, and bookmarked screens will sometimes flash past out of sequence. Children can opt for either silent reading mode or a dispirited audio narration; in either case, the rhymed text appears just one verse at a time and must be tapped for the next to show.

An assortment of tap-activated giggling elves, color changes and sound effects adorning the cartoon illustrations don’t compensate for fundamental flaws in execution. (iPad holiday app. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Hamson Design

Review Posted Online: Dec. 20, 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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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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