It’s far from encyclopedic, but budding naturalists will find the journal and overview appealing, and the camera work is...




Rich in features, if not so much in content, this introduction to insects will give larval entomologists a buzz.

In text sprinkled with the occasional typo, the commentary in the “Insect Story” section offers basic information about diversity, body parts, diets and metamorphosis, illustrating this with simple, sometimes animated cartoon images. “See Insects” presents photos and video clips accompanying closer looks at 30 selected species drawn from five of the class’ major orders. From the title screen, readers can also open a personal journal for collecting their own observations and photos, a quick-access index of the app’s multimedia elements and a set of extremely easy quizzes. However, though a search icon leads to a photo gallery of about 125 insects (sortable, oddly, by color), only the original 30 come with more information than species and common names. Furthermore, aside from a few invaders that have made it to North America, all of those featured entrants are Asian—and subtitle “Village Edition” notwithstanding, there are no ants, cockroaches or mosquitoes.

It’s far from encyclopedic, but budding naturalists will find the journal and overview appealing, and the camera work is often dazzling. (iPad informational app. 5-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2013


Page Count: -

Publisher: NCsoft

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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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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Like an ocean-going “Lion and the Mouse,” a humpback whale and a snail “with an itchy foot” help each other out in this cheery travelogue. Responding to a plaintive “Ride wanted around the world,” scrawled in slime on a coastal rock, whale picks up snail, then sails off to visit waters tropical and polar, stormy and serene before inadvertently beaching himself. Off hustles the snail, to spur a nearby community to action with another slimy message: “SAVE THE WHALE.” Donaldson’s rhyme, though not cumulative, sounds like “The house that Jack built”—“This is the tide coming into the bay, / And these are the villagers shouting, ‘HOORAY!’ / As the whale and the snail travel safely away. . . .” Looking in turn hopeful, delighted, anxious, awed, and determined, Scheffler’s snail, though tiny next to her gargantuan companion, steals the show in each picturesque seascape—and upon returning home, provides so enticing an account of her adventures that her fellow mollusks all climb on board the whale’s tail for a repeat voyage. Young readers will clamor to ride along. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8037-2922-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

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