Well designed and produced, but no swan.

READ REVIEW

THE UGLY DUCKLING

A verdant garden of options and interactive features is smothered by bland art and woeful versification.

Stumbling and forcibly rhymed lines like “He almost ran away, he didn’t want them all to see / How different he was from them, not graceful and lovely,” tell the familiar tale. A “big, fat and gray” hatchling (actually pure yellow when first seen, later acquiring gray blotches) wanders through grassy settings and tidy interiors festooned with flowers, mushrooms, pet and woodland animals, household and other items—most of which will hop, paddle, sway, chuckle, buzz, clatter or otherwise respond to touches—to his eventual epiphany. Menus accessible from the title page and every subsequent screen allow the verses to be displayed or removed at will, an audio narration or a self-recorded one to run as an alternative to silent reading, quick skipping via a strip of thumbnail page images and a full auto option for passive or group viewing. A completist-pleasing “Tips” button identifies all of the touchable features in a scene with tiny blue hands. The illustrator, the writer and Hans Christian Andersen go uncredited, which is for the best.

Well designed and produced, but no swan. (iPad storybook app. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: TabTale

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more