Children with wheezles and sneezles of their own will sympathize with the droopy monster and perhaps feel a little less...

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EVEN MONSTERS GET SICK

Zub looks like a bad bargain until his new young owner, Harry, realizes that the monster isn’t sad and boring but actually ill.

Resembling a big orange Wild Thing in the angular cartoon illustrations, Zub just lies about, groaning and dripping unusually gross-looking slime—until his young friend, with a flash of insight, calls upon his “Uncle Doctor Bob” for a house call (“Zub was nervous because some monsters are afraid to go to the doctor”) and learns that the creature has a cold. A little TLC and Zug and Harry are rocking out with Rock Hero, sharing ghost stories at Kid Camp and even setting out on a pirate treasure hunt. The options and interactive features are simple, smooth and satisfyingly varied. Fledgling readers can either tackle the first-person tale themselves or listen to an expressive child narrate over pleasant background music. A fingertip moves Harry and Zug through two easy mazes, elicits moans and cheers with taps, catapults cans of soup into the monster’s mouth, sets a frog band to playing a hornpipe and, after a closing hug, ignites fireworks in a nighttime sky.

Children with wheezles and sneezles of their own will sympathize with the droopy monster and perhaps feel a little less anxious about doctor visits, too. (iPad storybook app. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 5, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Busy Bee

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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