It's too early to tell if the running joke of Millie's outsized adventures will get old, but at least in this first set of...

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MILLIE & THE LOST KEY

From the Millie Was Here series

A new app series that combines several genres and styles to create a doggie adventure that feels fresh, Millie Was Here is off to a fetching start with a free preview—Meet Millie—and this separate full-length story.

Millie is a globe-trotting adventurer—though you would probably never know it if the mundane photos she's featured in hadn't been modified to put her on computer-generated planes or facing real-life boats with pasted-in pirate flags. The entire story is like that: overheated narration and text juxtaposed with otherwise plain dog-about-town pictures. "The island was dark and mysterious," the narrator intones as the fluffy black-and-white lapdog stands, leashed, in a pleasant urban park. But the trick works because the app is designed so well and has a sense of humor. It offers surprises on every page, from pull tabs that reveal hidden treasures to scratch-off games and hidden collectible cards. Though Millie's quest for the Lost Key to Endless Bacon feels a bit longer than necessary at 22 pages, the clever touches throughout, such as a stuffed animal who that is Millie's evil archenemy, are amusing and well-executed. Sound design, navigation and music are all high-quality, and a "Bedtime Mode" option that lowers the volume and dims the screen for nighttime reading is a welcome feature.

It's too early to tell if the running joke of Millie's outsized adventures will get old, but at least in this first set of apps, Millie more than earns whatever kibble App Store sales may provide for her. (iPad storybook app. 4-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: MegaPops

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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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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