In the end, this clumsy story offers too little entertainment to hold up to repeated readings. (iPad storybook app. 4-7)

THE BLUE JACKAL

AN INTERACTIVE TALE FROM PANCHATANTRA

Adapted from the Indian Panchatantra, a collection of animal fables, this app features crisp illustrations, but it is marred by a disjointed pace and an abrupt, unsatisfying ending.

In the story, a lazy, brown jackal, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Wile E. Coyote, is hunting for food when he accidentally falls into a pot of blue dye. His new hue makes him stand out in the jungle, and before long he's used his unusual color to convince the other animals he's God's messenger. The cartoon characters are soon worshipping their new leader, until the Jackal loses his cool and howls, blowing his cover. Cut immediately to a page spelling out the story's moral: "A coat of paint cannot hide one's true colors," and, "Do not lie to other people. People will discover your lies and would not trust you." (It turns out there were two morals.) Some of the writing in the story itself is just as clunky: "The Blue Jackal's wicked plan has worked and he was rich." (The voiced narration occasionally compensates for some of the grammatical blunders.) A small icon at the top right of each page tells readers how many interactions there are on each page. Pressing the icon also makes those objects shake, alerting young readers to their presence. There's also the option of having a male or female narrator.

In the end, this clumsy story offers too little entertainment to hold up to repeated readings. (iPad storybook app. 4-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Symplifyd

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

more