Smooth of presentation, if simple of message; the very small, very pink, very photogenic piggy in the lead role helps to...

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CHRIS P. BACON

MY LIFE SO FAR...

Paired with a mix of snapshots and cartoon art, a (real) piglet born without functional hind legs offers a sugary memoir retracing his climb to YouTube and TV celebrity.

He’s kitted out by veterinarian Dr. Len—“Dad, as I call him now”—with his rather ominous name and a small wheeled cart (“How awesome, I thought. ‘Oink-Oink,’ I said”). Chatty Chris recalls watching himself on the Web scooting about and then going on tour to demonstrate how, with “a little help—and a lot of grunting” and an upbeat attitude, anything is possible: “If you think positive, who knows what you can do?! Or in other words, Oinkity-Oink-Oink-Oink!” Minor animations aside, most of the movement in the illustrations is provided by automatic or swipe-activated pans. Along with a silent mode, auto-play and a self-record option for the narrative, every word in the text, oinks and all, can be revoiced with a tap. Likewise, touching any figure or detail in the illustrations, even the “wall” and “floor,” calls forth an aural label, as per Oceanhouse’s standard.

Smooth of presentation, if simple of message; the very small, very pink, very photogenic piggy in the lead role helps to compensate for his saccharine delivery. (photo album appended) (iPad storybook app. 5-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Oceanhouse Media

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 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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THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE

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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