A lesson to be sure, but delivered in a lighthearted blend of equally lively art, sound and animation.

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THE HOUSE THAT WENT ON STRIKE

In an episode both funny and pointed, a family of slobs receives an ultimatum from their filthy house and its disgusted appliances.

Decrepit outside and dirty inside (“I was ashamed and depressed: was this all a cruel jest? / While my people relaxed, I was totally stressed”), House recruits a squad of equally neglected appliances to eject the oblivious residents until they show more respect. Though wordy enough to require manual scrolling on some screens, the rhymed narrative trots along briskly—particularly in the zesty reading provided by former U.S. presidential candidate Pat Schroeder—to a final proper show of remorse and a vigorous “Clean Revolution.” Easy-to-spot interactive elements jiggle occasionally and are colored more brightly than the angled, informally drawn cartoon backgrounds. They include a plate-spitting dishwasher with a ferocious snarl, a plaintive (and thoroughly grease-encrusted) oven and other touch-activated figures, a roving X-ray spotlight for seeing through House’s walls, ancient food items that can be flicked out of the fridge into a garbage can and miscellaneous general litter to sweep away with a fingertip.

A lesson to be sure, but delivered in a lighthearted blend of equally lively art, sound and animation. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Jumping Pages

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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