Readers will undoubtedly want to find a basket full of these silly, helpful dinosaurs at their own supermarkets.

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DINO-STORE STORYBOOK

A trip to the grocery store leads to a whimsical tale as a family struggles to find a home for a dozen baby dinosaurs.

At the store, Leo asks his dad to get an enormous box of eggs. When they get home, Leo and his dad are surprised to discover a dozen baby dinosaurs have hatched and are happily eating their groceries. Just what are Leo and his family to do when the baby dinosaurs take over their apartment? While dinosaurs running amok is nothing new to children’s books, this original story is pretty nifty. Loeffler’s (Zig and Wikki in Something Ate My Homework, 2010) illustrations are clear, expressive and warm. Young readers will giggle as they try to donate the baby dinosaurs to the museum, take them to school and finally return them to the store. The narration is exaggerated just enough to draw out the humor, emphasizing the playful side of this story. The visual layout includes clear, well-designed presentation of the text on the page, varying the print size and location, creating interest in the words for new readers. Interactive features, usually simple animations or silly sound effects, add to the humor and keep children engaged with the story.

Readers will undoubtedly want to find a basket full of these silly, helpful dinosaurs at their own supermarkets. (iPad storybook app. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bluemarker.com

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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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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Aims high but falls flat.

WILD SYMPHONY

Through 20 short poems, Maestro Mouse invites readers to meet a series of animals who have lessons to impart and a symphony to perform.

Brown, author of The DaVinci Code (2003) and other wildly popular titles for adults, here offers young listeners a poetry collection accompanied by music: a “symphony” performed, for readers equipped with an audio device and an internet connection, by the Zagreb Festival Orchestra. From the introduction of the conductor and the opening “Woodbird Welcome” to the closing “Cricket Lullaby,” the writer/composer uses poems made of three to eight rhyming couplets, each line with four strong beats, to introduce the animals who will be revealed in the final double gatefold as the players in an all-animal orchestra. Each poem also contains a lesson, reinforced by a short message (often on a banner or signpost). Thus, “When life trips them up a bit, / Cats just make the best of it” concludes the poem “Clumsy Kittens,” which is encapsulated by “Falling down is part of life. The best thing to do is get back on your feet!” The individual songs and poems may appeal to the intended audience, but collectively they don’t have enough variety to be read aloud straight through. Nor does the gathering of the orchestra provide a narrative arc. Batori’s cartoon illustrations are whimsically engaging, however. They include puzzles: hard-to-find letters that are said to form anagrams of instrument names and a bee who turns up somewhere in every scene.

Aims high but falls flat. (Complete composition not available for review.) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12384-3

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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