A saccharine variant on The Giving Tree, but conceived and designed particularly for children with special needs. A portion...

THE TREE I SEE

A happy boy joins chirping birds and other cute little animals around a smiling tree to celebrate the pleasure of sharing.

Boy, skunk, birds, a squirrel and a bee pop up in successive sunny cartoon scenes in the patterned tale, each getting a handshake or some other favor from the tree and uttering a line (“I love nuts!”) both then and in following scenes when tapped. Nightfall brings brief anxiety as the tree loses sight of its snoozing companions until moonlight in the next scene illuminates them. The rhymed text, read woodenly in a child’s voice, runs to lines like, “The skunk walks by and is quite shy / so the tree invites him to climb up high,” and “Sharing with friends is the lesson, you see, / even for a tree or a small child like me.” The software design is better than the art or writing—offering multiple buttons and sliders to configure the background music and other sounds, retractable text boxes on each screen, a large contents strip, manual and autoplay options and a variety of touch-activated animations and effects.

A saccharine variant on The Giving Tree, but conceived and designed particularly for children with special needs. A portion of the proceeds will go to Autism Speaks. (iPad storybook app. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 11, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Aridan Books

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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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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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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