THE PENELOPE ROSE HD

A good-looking but thin tale about a fairy who gives all the roses their colors. A rudimentary plot links 24 elaborately decorated forest tableaus populated with an array of both mundane and magical creatures. Constructed in several layers that move slightly as the tablet is moved to provide a 3D effect, the scenes are viewed in landscape orientation that locks after the app loads. “A garden full of clear roses had its charms but there were issues,” declares a sweet-voiced (optional) narrator. “Bunnies were always hippy hoppity hopping right into bushes resulting in ouchy thorns stuck in their unlucky rabbit feet.” Eventually little fairy Penelope takes care of the traffic hazard by gathering colors from the rainbow and elsewhere to paint the semitransparent flowers. She is joined in different scenes by small animals that grunt or giggle when touched, semi-hidden, pointy-hat–clad pixies that leap up and other gamelike animations. Voicing options include a full reading, single touched words or swiped phrases. A table of contents, the text hide/reveal and all page turns are activated by arabesque “buttons” in the corners. Pretty art and a diverse array of interactive features help to compensate for looped background music that quickly waxes monotonous. Moreover, a screen between each page for (optional) hints about upcoming animations will prevents any sort of flow. Definitely ambitious but a bit clunky in the end. (iPad storybook app. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Mobad Games

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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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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