Readers will feel as clever and brave as Jack as they outwit and outrun the giant in this engaging, entertaining app.

READ REVIEW

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK

Nosy Crow’s design cleverly weaves games and adventure into this favorite folk tale.

As in the traditional tale, Jack tries to help his mother by bringing their cow to market but is instead swindled by a nefarious peddler. The presentation features Nosy Crow’s trademark excellent narration by child actors, witty speech bubbles and terrific illustrations, but it doesn’t stop there. Right from the start, readers are asked to help Jack clean Daisy the cow and scale the heights of the beanstalk, tackling challenges in a gamelike mode. When Jack reaches the castle, readers must help him solve nine different puzzles. Some draw on the classic story: Readers must gently lift up geese to discover which one lays golden eggs. Others create new games that effectively exploit the iPad’s interactive abilities—tilting the iPad to maneuver a bucket down the well or assembling a broken mirror that uses the iPad camera to reflect the reader’s image. A treasure map lets readers navigate the story, choosing which puzzles to solve and allowing them to skip ahead to the final chase scene whenever they’re ready. Different endings emerge depending on the treasures Jack brings back—perhaps it’s just some bean soup, or maybe it’s a house overflowing with a bountiful feast.

Readers will feel as clever and brave as Jack as they outwit and outrun the giant in this engaging, entertaining app. (iPad storybook app. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Nosy Crow

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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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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Only for dedicated fans of the series.

HOW TO CATCH A MONSTER

From the How to Catch… series

When a kid gets the part of the ninja master in the school play, it finally seems to be the right time to tackle the closet monster.

“I spot my monster right away. / He’s practicing his ROAR. / He almost scares me half to death, / but I won’t be scared anymore!” The monster is a large, fluffy poison-green beast with blue hands and feet and face and a fluffy blue-and-green–striped tail. The kid employs a “bag of tricks” to try to catch the monster: in it are a giant wind-up shark, two cans of silly string, and an elaborate cage-and-robot trap. This last works, but with an unexpected result: the monster looks sad. Turns out he was only scaring the boy to wake him up so they could be friends. The monster greets the boy in the usual monster way: he “rips a massive FART!!” that smells like strawberries and lime, and then they go to the monster’s house to meet his parents and play. The final two spreads show the duo getting ready for bed, which is a rather anticlimactic end to what has otherwise been a rambunctious tale. Elkerton’s bright illustrations have a TV-cartoon aesthetic, and his playful beast is never scary. The narrator is depicted with black eyes and hair and pale skin. Wallace’s limping verses are uninspired at best, and the scansion and meter are frequently off.

Only for dedicated fans of the series. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4894-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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