Fusty storytelling sinks this one, though it’s an eye-popping pleasure otherwise.



The iPad proves an excellent platform for telling a story with clay and stop-motion animation, but everything else about this version of the oft-adapted tale is lacking.

Developers following the over 100 others who have adapted the tale had better have one heck of a gimmick. For this app, the developers do: lovely, squishy, remarkably realistic clay artwork that transforms with a touch into the familiar elements—pigs, a hungry wolf and hastily built houses. The clay work is so charming and looks so good that it may take readers a few pages to notice that the accompanying writing and narration are more like swine than pearls. It differs from the more kid-friendly modern versions of the popular story by allowing the first two pigs to become wolf chow before a climax that ends with the third pig boiling the wolf and eating him. But the text itself, taken from L. Leslie Brooke’s turn-of-the-last-century edition, is antique, with sentences that would tire triathletes. The star attraction is the clay action, employed cleverly on the pages, including one in which pieces of straw can be moved to build the first pig’s house around a tree. The app doesn’t enchant with “Three Little Pigs,” but it may make readers long for one from the same artists that might be called, “Let’s Just Play with Clay.”

Fusty storytelling sinks this one, though it’s an eye-popping pleasure otherwise. (iPad storybook app. 3-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 2013


Page Count: -

Publisher: Touchanka

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2013

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Sincere and wholehearted.

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The NBA star offers a poem that encourages curiosity, integrity, compassion, courage, and self-forgiveness.

James makes his debut as a children’s author with a motivational poem touting life habits that children should strive for. In the first-person narration, he provides young readers with foundational self-esteem encouragement layered within basketball descriptions: “I promise to run full court and show up each time / to get right back up and let my magic shine.” While the verse is nothing particularly artful, it is heartfelt, and in her illustrations, Mata offers attention-grabbing illustrations of a diverse and enthusiastic group of children. Scenes vary, including classrooms hung with student artwork, an asphalt playground where kids jump double Dutch, and a gym populated with pint-sized basketball players, all clearly part of one bustling neighborhood. Her artistry brings black and brown joy to the forefront of each page. These children evince equal joy in learning and in play. One particularly touching double-page spread depicts two vignettes of a pair of black children, possibly siblings; in one, they cuddle comfortably together, and in the other, the older gives the younger a playful noogie. Adults will appreciate the closing checklist of promises, which emphasize active engagement with school. A closing note very generally introduces principles that underlie the Lebron James Family Foundation’s I Promise School (in Akron, Ohio). (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 15% of actual size.)

Sincere and wholehearted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-297106-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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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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