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

READ REVIEW

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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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 sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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