Although sweet, this story about a polar bear in search of fish and chips skates on thin ice—the appealing cartoons can’t...

SNOWPO

THE TRIP FOR FISH AND CHIPS

In the footsteps of Paddington, another bear travels alone to London, getting in trouble with the law. 

Snowpo, a cheery polar bear cub, has flown to London and is hungry after his long journey. “His tummy rumbled for fish and chips, / He looked at London and licked his lips.” Before he knows it, though, he’s arrested for disturbing the peace and must rely on a friendly lawyer to help defend him in court. The cartoon illustrations, with their bright colors and exaggerated expressions, are appealing and funny, but the story doesn’t deliver. It is never quite clear why Snowpo is arrested, a crucial step that sets the whole story in motion. While the resolution is charming—Snowpo and the judge bond over their common love of fish and chips—the judge’s decision is silly beyond reason. The narration, word highlighting and pacing work well in combination with the lock-step rhyming couplets, but the use of British punctuation conventions may trip up American readers. The interactive elements are quite shallow and will not sustain readers’ attention, though they may be entertaining at first. Each page includes a question or puzzle, but they do not develop readers’ understanding of the story, and no answers are provided. 

Although sweet, this story about a polar bear in search of fish and chips skates on thin ice—the appealing cartoons can’t make up for the gaping plot holes . (iPad storybook app. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 6, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Tinkertanker

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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