The worthy theme needs a better vehicle than this to carry it to its audience.

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POINTY AND POKEY

An undistinguished animal story teaches the importance of kids accepting themselves and others for who they are.

Pointy the hedgehog and Pokey the porcupine can’t make friends with the other forest animals because of their sharp quills, so their friend Spinner (a weaver bird) stitches shirts out of hay and grass to help them hide their quills. When some wolves threaten the animals at a birthday party for a little rabbit, Pointy and Pokey use their quills to protect the revelers and are hailed as heroes. Grandpa Rabbit concludes, “You should not hide your precious quills. You are good, as you are!” The message is fine, but the characterization and plot are unexceptional. Pokey is supposedly naughty, and Pointy is likewise shy, but there is never any evidence of this. Moreover, the plot depends on the myth that porcupines "throw" their quills, giving this ability to hedgehogs as well. Swipe navigation works well enough for getting forward and back, with a pop-up menu that will bring viewers back to the homepage. Rudimentary effects are mostly limited to animal sounds or a stream of colored confetti that is released when the screen is touched. Some pages are designed with split panels, offering some interest, but the cartoon-style artwork is uninspired. Words are underlined as the narrator voices the text.

The worthy theme needs a better vehicle than this to carry it to its audience. (iPad storybook app. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: PixelMat

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

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Hee haw.

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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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This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

LOVE MONSTER

Monster lives in Cutesville, where he feels his googly eyes make him unlovable, especially compared to all the “cute, fluffy” kittens, puppies and bunnies. He goes off to find someone who will appreciate him just the way he is…with funny and heartwarming results.

A red, scraggly, pointy-eared, arm-dragging monster with a pronounced underbite clutches his monster doll to one side of his chest, exposing a purplish blue heart on the other. His oversized eyes express his loneliness. Bright could not have created a more sympathetic and adorable character. But she further impresses with the telling of this poor chap’s journey. Since Monster is not the “moping-around sort,” he strikes out on his own to find someone who will love him. “He look[s] high” from on top of a hill, and “he look[s] low” at the bottom of the same hill. The page turn reveals a rolling (and labeled) tumbleweed on a flat stretch. Here “he look[s] middle-ish.” Careful pacing combines with dramatic design and the deadpan text to make this sad search a very funny one. When it gets dark and scary, he decides to head back home. A bus’s headlights shine on his bent figure. All seems hopeless—until the next page surprises, with a smiling, orange monster with long eyelashes and a pink heart on her chest depicted at the wheel. And “in the blink of a googly eye / everything change[s].”

This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-374-34646-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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