THE THREE LITTLE PIGS

This, the umpteenth app based on the familiar tale, rises far above most of its brethren. In this cheery, abbreviated version, all three pigs survive—and so does the wolf, who falls into a pot of boiling water but then rockets back up the chimney and runs off howling. The brightly colored, flat, cartoon-style piglets and their unkempt pursuer (the latter driving a delivery van) float through a sunny woodland setting, paced by narrative lines and side comments written in British idiom. “I only want to come in for a chat,” wheedles the wolf; “I’m puffed,” puns a running piglet. Both dialogue and narrative themselves float over sprightly background music. Though both the animation and the transitions are sometimes stiff, each scene offers a healthy dose of hidden animals, figures that can be flipped or moved back and forth, variable dialogue, changeable angles of view and other features. These are activated by touches, swipes, tilting the tablet and even blowing on the screen (readers can help the wolf huff and puff). A cast of British children reads the basic narrative and the touch-activated dialogue with great expression. Opening with buttons to select a silent text, an interactive “Read and Play” option or a slightly less feature-rich rendition that advances on its own for group showings, this engaging and versatile app is equally suited to single or collective viewing. It amply shows that this old dog—er, pig—can still learn new tricks. (iPad storybook app. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Nosy Crow

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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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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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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