Even though the literary component isn’t wonderful, this app is worth the price of admission thanks to the innovative...


An interactive sequel to The Witch with No Name (2012).

The titular witch is back, and this time she’s looking for love—arguably, in all the wrong places. Obsessed with impressing the narcissistic Merlinor at his annual Halloween Ball, the witch sets out to improve her image. (The magic mirror is partially to blame for this, as it keeps telling her that she’s not marvelous enough for Merlinor.) First she seeks a new wardrobe by visiting German fashion designer Lagerspell, who is fabulous and the one character in the story that shines. She buys a new Ferraci broom and takes etiquette lessons from Mummily Manners. In the end, the witch ends up finding love, but not where she thought she would. There’s a plethora of interactive opportunities throughout the story, many of them delightful. Props to the developers for utilizing the full power of the iPad; SlimCricket harnesses the creative and interactive capabilities of the microphone, camera and tilt action and offers a host of animated touch features. In addition to exploring the tactile magic on each page, readers can complete four tasks to unlock a pleasant little surprise. As with the witch’s first outing, the actual story lags behind in accomplishment, but readers are unlikely to notice this.

Even though the literary component isn’t wonderful, this app is worth the price of admission thanks to the innovative interactive elements. (Requires iOS 6 and above.) (iPad storybook app. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2014


Page Count: -

Publisher: SlimCricket

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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Hee haw.

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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 book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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