LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD

A retelling of the familiar fairy tale, Nosy Crow’s newest app has the appearance of a graphic novel and offers a fresh new twist in the storyline.

Portrayed as brave and capable, Red Riding Hood heads through the forest, where readers help her navigate forks and the path. Each path leads to a different game and subsequent variation in the story. Instead of simply being distractions embedded in the app, each game is integral to the story and encourages readers to carry on through to the end, where the various items gathered prove useful in dispatching the wolf. Interactions are smooth and infused with humor. The 3-D effect and zoom capability add depth to the illustrations, and a map is provided as a shortcut to the games. Game features include tilting to pour honey and to move a spider around a maze, blowing seeds from a dandelion, readers’ own reflections in a pool and many touch-screen games. The characters, narrated superbly by child actors, speak to each other when tapped. Unfortunately, conversations get a bit out of whack if not tapped in the correct order, but eventually, all becomes clear. In “Read and Play” mode, words are highlighted as they are read out loud, and blue dots blink to help readers find interactions on each page.

Well-crafted and fun to read, this is an empowered “Red Riding Hood” not to miss. (iPad storybook app. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 25, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Nosy Crow

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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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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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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