Lucky for app bargain hunters, this one’s got it all: a plucky heroine, a funny parrot, lots of treasure and more than...

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ALIZAY, PIRATE GIRL

Alizay, the redheaded pirate preteen of the Bonny Clipper, is always up for a hunt for treasure, especially when it’s with her loving dad, Capt. Rubberfoot (his peg leg is a plunger).

When their ship is becalmed near a mysterious isle, she faces a series of challenges that include a “Frogger”-like river crossing, a music game and secrets that are revealed on a treasure map. Throughout, Alizay stays upbeat and brave, collecting four needles that will reveal the secret of the island. In the best way possible, little is left to chance in the app. Illustrations are richly detailed, with cartoonish animation blending seamlessly with scenes that change perspective when readers tilt the iPad. For younger readers who may not be able to solve all the game’s puzzles, there are “Easy,” “Medium” and “Hard” difficulty settings, and most tough spots can be skipped to continue progressing in the story. There’s not much dazzle in the writing, but the app is more like a clever game with a nice back story than a straight storybook narrative. There’s a lot to Alizay’s adventure, so much so that it wouldn’t have been unreasonable if the developers had broken it up into multiple pirate apps.

Lucky for app bargain hunters, this one’s got it all: a plucky heroine, a funny parrot, lots of treasure and more than enough material to stave off boredom at sea. (iPad storybook app. 4-10)

Pub Date: May 25, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: SlimCricket

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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Positively refreshing.

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HAIR LOVE

A black girl helps her dad learn how to give her the perfect hairstyle for a very special day.

Zuri’s voluminous head of hair “has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way.” She is pictured asleep with a large Afro framing her face. She is proud of her hair, which she sometimes wears in braids with beads like a princess and other times in pigtail puffs. But today is a special day. She knows Daddy is “worn-out” and probably needs a break, so she lets him sleep in while she looks up hairstyles on a tablet. When Daddy wakes and offers to help, he tries a series of hairstyles that just don’t work. Finally, Zuri grabs some hair supplies and shows him a tutorial. “Watching carefully… / Daddy combed, / parted, oiled, and twisted. / He nailed it!” Zuri is lovely and happy with her freshly done hairstyle, and when Mommy arrives to their “Welcome Home” sign, she loves Zuri’s look too. The digital illustrations feature details that feel just right: Zuri’s thick, textured hair, Daddy’s locs and tattoo, and dark-skinned Mom’s bright headwrap. While it’s unclear where Mommy is returning from (she is dressed casually and has a rolling black suitcase), this authentic depiction of a loving and whole black family broadens the scope of representation.

Positively refreshing. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55336-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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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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