The affordable price of this app makes it a low-risk investment, and parents may find the story helpful in stimulating...


A well-meaning but weak story about dealing with bullies.

Bullying is certainly a timely topic to cover with kids, and this app gets props for tackling it. A farmer named Harvest finds Buck the banker digging for treasure on his property. When Harvest protests, Buck responds by calling him names, threatening to slander him and pelting him with ears of corn. Harvest takes Buck to arbitration with Chief Tatupu, who gives Harvest’s journal to Buck so he’ll understand Harvest’s feelings and see the error of his ways. Predictably, Buck is enlightened, repents and the two become the best of friends. Telling a person in authority about a problem is an important step, but the resolution in this story is wildly idealistic. In reality, getting a bully to understand one’s feelings rarely results in a cessation of mistreatment, which begs the question, what is one to do when the bully doesn’t care at all about the pain he or she is inflicting? In terms of interaction and animation, there are a few standard bells and whistles—falling leaves, animals that are hiding, a “game” that helps Harvest dodge the corn—but most tactile elements are rudimentary and lackluster.

The affordable price of this app makes it a low-risk investment, and parents may find the story helpful in stimulating conversation about bullying. But they’ll likely need to fill in a lot of holes. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2012


Page Count: -

Publisher: Midlandia Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.


All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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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. 29, 2018

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