While it may make readers wonder just what's the point of having such utterly cuddly monsters, the app is still fun and...

HIDING MONSTERS

Cuddly, agreeable versions of mythical monsters wait to be found in this breezy exploration book from the author, illustrator and developers behind Hiding Hannah (2011).

As in their previous app, the story employs a simple structure: Touch objects on screen to discover where someone is hiding; repeat in a different environment. In Hiding Hannah, a giggly toddler exasperated her parents by playing an ongoing game of hide-and-seek. In this app, the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, a dragon, the Abominable Snowman and others can be found in their native lands—after a hunt. When they're discovered, surprisingly enough, they don't bloodily maul readers. Instead, they wave and say hello, as they've been systematically defanged for young readers. The hulking Yeti, for instance, has an awfully toothless nickname: Bommy. If the app lacks some of the spark of originality and easy humor of its predecessor, it makes up for it in the same kind of attention to detail and playful art that made the previous effort so successful. The backgrounds, including a Japanese city and the top of a gargoyle-guarded tower, are exotic but never scary or uninviting.

While it may make readers wonder just what's the point of having such utterly cuddly monsters, the app is still fun and snappily put together. (iPad storybook app. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 12, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Squeaky Frog

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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Hee haw.

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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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