More care with details and less outright commercialism would raise this app out of the ordinary (iPad storybook app. 3-7)

A SPECIAL TREASURE

From the Lisa & Lilly series

This pleasantly illustrated story app is marred by lack of attention to detail and an ending that entreats the viewer to buy additional apps.

Lisa and Lilly are apparently famous in Norway for their own stationery line. In this adventure, they head to the beach with their pets and follow a treasure map to find a treasure. The art is appealing and the story is solid, but there are some problems that drag this app down. Most importantly, there are background elements missing that only become clear in another download, Meet Lisa and Lilly (which, to be fair, is free). For instance, viewers will be confused when they are asked to look for Lucky (the “fairy cat” is never introduced), readers who don't know that Dolly is a “cloud dog” will wonder how it is she can fly. The interactive elements don’t always work well, and without the info icon on each page they might never even be found. That said, there is a cute puzzle on one page and a suitcase activity on another. The optional English /Norwegian narration is quite agreeable, and navigation is smooth. The story ends with a shameless commercial appeal: “Hurry up Birdie and Lucky. We need to go to the app store,” says Dolly. “There are more Lisa and Lilly apps we can download!” Yuck.

More care with details and less outright commercialism would raise this app out of the ordinary (iPad storybook app. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Atmos BV

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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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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