The developers would do well to either give this app a major overhaul or put it out to pasture.

THE MUSICIANS OF BREMEN

A disappointingly flawed version of the classic Brothers Grimm tale.

The storyline in this effort sticks quite close to the original: An aging donkey, dog, cat and rooster all flee from their abusive masters. After a couple of encounters with human thieves, the animals settle in a cottage where they live happily ever after (though they never make it to Bremen). Oberdieck’s lovely illustrations are bathed in warm, muted tones, making the artwork by far the app’s greatest asset. The technological elements are almost all illogical or only marginally functional, though. There’s a story map that corresponds to numbered sections, but it takes far too long to decipher. Interaction is scant and repetitious. The most problematic issue is the “record me reading” feature. Small signs at the bottom of each screen labeled “page” and “paragraph” record the reader’s voice when tapped, but they are activated for predetermined segment lengths (which are not communicated to the reader), and there's no clear play-back control. There are a few other worthwhile elements, but they're hopelessly lost in the myriad technological and navigational quandaries.

The developers would do well to either give this app a major overhaul or put it out to pasture. (iPad storybook app. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 14, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Mark Holme

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 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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This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers.

HOW TO CATCH THE EASTER BUNNY

From the How to Catch… series

The bestselling series (How to Catch an Elf, 2016, etc.) about capturing mythical creatures continues with a story about various ways to catch the Easter Bunny as it makes its annual deliveries.

The bunny narrates its own story in rhyming text, beginning with an introduction at its office in a manufacturing facility that creates Easter eggs and candy. The rabbit then abruptly takes off on its delivery route with a tiny basket of eggs strapped to its back, immediately encountering a trap with carrots and a box propped up with a stick. The narrative focuses on how the Easter Bunny avoids increasingly complex traps set up to catch him with no explanation as to who has set the traps or why. These traps include an underground tunnel, a fluorescent dance floor with a hidden pit of carrots, a robot bunny, pirates on an island, and a cannon that shoots candy fish, as well as some sort of locked, hazardous site with radiation danger. Readers of previous books in the series will understand the premise, but others will be confused by the rabbit’s frenetic escapades. Cartoon-style illustrations have a 1960s vibe, with a slightly scary, bow-tied bunny with chartreuse eyes and a glowing palette of neon shades that shout for attention.

This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3817-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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