Jeffers received a heap of critical acclaim for the print version of this memorable storybook. The narrative chronicles a...

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THE HEART AND THE BOTTLE

AN INTERACTIVE BOOK

After an elderly loved one departs, a young girl puts her heart in a bottle to try to weather the grief.

Jeffers received a heap of critical acclaim for the print version of this memorable storybook. The narrative chronicles a little girl’s attempt to protect herself from the pain of losing a loved one and abstractly confronts the complexities of grief. Jeffers’ clean, visceral artwork translates beautifully to the tablet screen and is brought to life by numerous interactive options. Each page offers a hint that leads to hidden elements that can be triggered by tapping, swiping, tilting or shaking the device. A scrolling storyboard makes it easy to locate and skip to various pages, but there are a couple of technological oversights and glitches that make this adaptation a little rough. Helena Bonham Carter narrates, but there’s no autoplay or read-to-me option; voiced narration must be prompted on each individual page, which gets old. And while the interactive components are interesting and organic to the story, it sometimes takes several tries to activate them. Still, the magical interactivity, the aesthetic presentation and the poignant story itself outweigh the app’s few technological hiccups.

Pub Date: June 28, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 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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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

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

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