The complicated yet predictable storyline and the interactive experience are mostly disappointing.

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THE WISHINGTOOTH STORYBOOK ADVENTURE

A story about the Tooth Fairy displays an animation aesthetic.

Although the production values in this 77-page app are high, unfortunately it breaks very little new ground. When Pete loses a tooth, his friend Melody tells him that if he makes a wish on said tooth, it will come true. Zora the Tooth Fairy—who looks very much like Tinkerbell—tells the children that their belief is paramount not only to Pete’s wish, but also to the survival of her world. (Peter Pan, anyone?) Other classic parallels: Wishington has much the same feel as Emerald City, and the evil Malgrin feels very Lucifer-like (he used to be a Tooth Fairy but now steals wishes from children). Fairy dust sparkles to indicate interactive elements, but most of them are slight: a hop, a nod, a wagging finger. Children can unlock a feature that lets them collect items for Pete’s hamster (and later claim “rewards”) but only if parents fork over their email addresses. Readers can select “easy” or “original” text. It’s not without glitches, including an intermittent inability to switch readers without rebooting and narration that continues even when “read to me” is turned off.

The complicated yet predictable storyline and the interactive experience are mostly disappointing. (Requires iPad 2 and above.) (iPad storybook app. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: TRC Family Entertainment

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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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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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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