Perfunctory of storyline and unsubtle of decoration, but with a rich and smoothly responsive array of animations, dissolves,...




Swiveling, aesthetically saccharine 3-D pop-up scenes built around a diverse suite of drag-and-tap challenges will engage young readers far more than the classic story’s cursory rendition.

The app opens with a prince’s punishment for rudeness to a scruffy visitor: “Oh no! The witch has trapped the prince inside a giant rock. Tap it to help him escape! ‘Aaaargh! She’s turned me into a horrible Beast!’ ” Once he’s been turned into a comically furry, rotund monster, the familiar story plays out. He showers Belle (the “most beautiful of all,” but “bold and adventurous too”) and her dog Max with gifts before regaining his looks and marriageability by her kiss. The happy couple (plus dog) make up a final tableau that wriggles and emits bursts of floating pink hearts with every tap. Before that, dexterous viewers can save Belle’s father from a wolf and guide him through a snowy maze to a rosebush, sort falling leaves by color, assemble luscious desserts, beat Beast at increasingly quick games of pingpong and like diversions. An index icon on every screen allows quick skipping to any of the nine pop-up spreads (interspersed pages of text are not indexed). Readers can select silent, audio or autoplay options from a “Parent Center” hidden behind an easily foiled trick access.

Perfunctory of storyline and unsubtle of decoration, but with a rich and smoothly responsive array of animations, dissolves, transitions, sound effects and interactive activities. (iPad storybook app. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 25, 2013


Page Count: -

Publisher: StoryToys

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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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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Only for dedicated fans of the series.


From the How to Catch… series

When a kid gets the part of the ninja master in the school play, it finally seems to be the right time to tackle the closet monster.

“I spot my monster right away. / He’s practicing his ROAR. / He almost scares me half to death, / but I won’t be scared anymore!” The monster is a large, fluffy poison-green beast with blue hands and feet and face and a fluffy blue-and-green–striped tail. The kid employs a “bag of tricks” to try to catch the monster: in it are a giant wind-up shark, two cans of silly string, and an elaborate cage-and-robot trap. This last works, but with an unexpected result: the monster looks sad. Turns out he was only scaring the boy to wake him up so they could be friends. The monster greets the boy in the usual monster way: he “rips a massive FART!!” that smells like strawberries and lime, and then they go to the monster’s house to meet his parents and play. The final two spreads show the duo getting ready for bed, which is a rather anticlimactic end to what has otherwise been a rambunctious tale. Elkerton’s bright illustrations have a TV-cartoon aesthetic, and his playful beast is never scary. The narrator is depicted with black eyes and hair and pale skin. Wallace’s limping verses are uninspired at best, and the scansion and meter are frequently off.

Only for dedicated fans of the series. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4894-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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