Apart from automated sound this version doesn’t add much to its paper predecessor; let the diner beware.

COUNT BROCCULA

After being terrorized by fiendish vegetables, a young boy learns to eat his veggies before they eat him.

Young Albert hates vegetables and adamantly refuses to eat them. Doctor Gravenstein, a mad scientist who creates new beings out of vegetables and human brains, spots Albert and sends his pea henchmen to retrieve him so he can harvest his brain. Albert flees and is chased by various menacing vegetables, the most persistent of which is a vampire made of broccoli. The app is adapted from Osborn’s 2010 ink-and-paper release and appears to be identical in terms of text and graphics. Motion and interaction have been added to the colorful-but-crude illustrations, but these “enhancements” are about as primitive as they could be on a tablet screen. Audio, narration, music and sound effects all deserve above-average marks, but the rhyming text is predictable and bland. Navigation is more-or-less easy once the menu code is cracked, though if the tomato/book icon is tapped, it launches Safari to visit the developer’s website, which requires a re-launch of the app which then begins over again on page one. The opening screen promises broccoli recipes and gardening tips, but they’re nowhere to be found within the app itself.

Apart from automated sound this version doesn’t add much to its paper predecessor; let the diner beware. (iPad storybook app. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: RipplBooks

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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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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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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