Although his Aussie slang is amusing, George is actually something of a jerk, and the app doesn’t offer enough by way of...

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GEORGE THE FARMER'S AUSTRALIAN ADVENTURES

With a cheerful “G’day, mate,” a narrator invites readers to glimpse a slice of life on an Australian wheat farm.

“Today we’re using the tractor and seeder to plant a wheat crop,” George tells his dog, Jessie. “We’re going to be flat out as a lizard drinking!” Wheat planting is busy work, but soon George starts thinking about his football practice that “arvo” (afternoon). Leaving his job half-finished, George asks Ruby (presumably his spouse, though she’s never really introduced) for help. While Ruby does indeed finish the job, George never acknowledges her help—and young readers are unlikely to understand her knowing smile at the end of the story. Teamwork? It comes across much more as falling back on gender stereotypes. Narration by Australian radio presenter Peter Goers adds to the authentic feel of the story. Bright cartoon digital illustrations are attractive, and young children will enjoy the farm sounds of the rumbling tractor, chirping magpie and barking dog. Two simple games and a song supplement the story but aren’t likely to hold young readers’ attention for very long. The app provides the option for another story about George to be included soon. Perhaps he will be less of a boor in it.

Although his Aussie slang is amusing, George is actually something of a jerk, and the app doesn’t offer enough by way of features or narrative to compensate for his total absence of character growth. (iPad storybook app. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 10, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Hello Friday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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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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PANDA KISSES

When a young panda asks each of his parents for a kiss, they give him choices: “A soft kiss? / A sweet kiss? / A sticky bamboo treat kiss?” High or low, in the sun or the rain, from a bunny or a fish? In the end the young panda determines that “There are many kisses that will do! / But the best kiss is—from both of you!” A large font, rhythm and rhyme, picture clues and a low word count per page will help emergent readers succeed. Widdowson’s bright illustrations scatter Chinese elements throughout, adding international flair, and sprinkle other animals exchanging smooches for extra interest. A sweet treat to share with a beginning reader. (Early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 9, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-375-84562-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2008

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