A sticky-sweet rendition, with none of the original’s pungency or strangeness.

ALICE IN WONDERLAND

A rhymed version of the classic, compressed into just 12 screens thickly strewn with touch-activated trifles.

“A pretty girl named Alice sat by the stream one day, / She was clever and nice, but had no friend with whom to play.” Viewers can read this literary lowlight to themselves, listen to a saccharine audio or even record their own version. The best option of all removes the text from view entirely with the tap of a button. This leaves a dozen bland, brightly colored cartoon views of an expressionless, doll-like blonde lass in a blue pinafore shrinking, growing (“Mm! A cookie!”) and encountering various odd creatures. These include the usual suspects: a Mad Hatter with an array of headgear options, a sniggering purple Cheshire cat and a Queen who explodes into cards at Alice’s accusatory “Hey, you!” In each scene, taps release sprays of hearts or sparkles, activate exclamations or other sound effects and set off slow animations. Seven screens also include several drag-and-drop jigsaw pieces. The app is available for a nominal charge or in a free version with large pop-up ads.

A sticky-sweet rendition, with none of the original’s pungency or strangeness. (iPad storybook app. 5-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: TabTale

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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Hee haw.

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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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JOHNNY APPLESEED

Though she never says outright that he was a real person, Kurtz introduces newly emergent readers to the historical John Chapman, walking along the Ohio, planting apple seeds, and bartering seedlings to settlers for food and clothing. Haverfield supplies the legendary portions of his tale, with views of a smiling, stylishly ragged, clean-shaven young man, pot on head, wildlife on shoulder or trailing along behind. Kurtz caps her short, rhythmic text with an invitation to “Clap your hands for Johnny Chapman. / Clap your hands for Johnny Appleseed!” An appealing way to open discussions of our country’s historical or legendary past. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 5-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85958-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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