Still, there’s a lot to admire in an app sprung from a bold design choice that errs on the side of simplicity and which, for...

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CLOVER

An adventurous dog takes an improbable global trip to find her master.

Clover, a blue Scottie dog wearing a pink scarf, loves her owner, a jet-setting architect who's about to take a work trip to Beijing. Stowing away, Clover winds up in Paris, where she meets a grimy street canine named Le Rat. The two find transportation to Moscow, then Beijing in a journey filled with conversation, coincidences and many humans willing to look the other way while dogs rack up frequent-traveler miles. The app stands out by eschewing all buttons and navigation prompts for an endless series of swipes. Moving a finger from right to left along the iPad screen advances the story as if it were on a roller, revealing an ongoing series of warmly painted animations. It's a beautiful method of creating an interactive book, but it's also exhausting. The story is so long that it requires dozens and dozens of swipes to get to the end of the tale, and swiping too quickly or too slowly wrecks the pace. The text isn't inspired, even for a story largely set in the mind of a restless dog: "Clover thought about how much she'd miss her friend and how much she had always wanted to see China." 

Still, there’s a lot to admire in an app sprung from a bold design choice that errs on the side of simplicity and which, for the most part, works very well. (iPad storybook app. 4-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Soma Creates

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 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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THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE

Like an ocean-going “Lion and the Mouse,” a humpback whale and a snail “with an itchy foot” help each other out in this cheery travelogue. Responding to a plaintive “Ride wanted around the world,” scrawled in slime on a coastal rock, whale picks up snail, then sails off to visit waters tropical and polar, stormy and serene before inadvertently beaching himself. Off hustles the snail, to spur a nearby community to action with another slimy message: “SAVE THE WHALE.” Donaldson’s rhyme, though not cumulative, sounds like “The house that Jack built”—“This is the tide coming into the bay, / And these are the villagers shouting, ‘HOORAY!’ / As the whale and the snail travel safely away. . . .” Looking in turn hopeful, delighted, anxious, awed, and determined, Scheffler’s snail, though tiny next to her gargantuan companion, steals the show in each picturesque seascape—and upon returning home, provides so enticing an account of her adventures that her fellow mollusks all climb on board the whale’s tail for a repeat voyage. Young readers will clamor to ride along. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8037-2922-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

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