The Panda Family takes a break from its breakfast of bamboo leaf porridge to take a walk in the bamboo forest. While they're...

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THE THREE PANDAS

A modern take on "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" features a charming style of animation and a lovable family of pandas.

The Panda Family takes a break from its breakfast of bamboo leaf porridge to take a walk in the bamboo forest. While they're gone, a young girl named Mei Mei walks through the familiar home-intrusion routine that most children will recognize. She finds Baby Panda's porridge to her liking, deems his chair most comfortable (but not before breaking it) and ends up in his cozy bed. What could have been a lazy retread with pandas and a distinct Chinese influence is instead made fresh with the app's animations, which combine photo collages, a live-action actress portraying Mei Mei (in a red dress and black Mary Janes) and movement for the pandas when the reader "tickles" each of them, as the app advises. The app can be experienced in English and Chinese (in both the text and optional narration), and a portion of the proceeds from each app sale goes to Pandas International, which has partnered with the publisher. Except for two letters that are exchanged at the end bringing the pandas and Mei Mei back together for a happy ending, the story is not much different from what readers expect from a "Goldilocks" story.

Pub Date: April 23, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: See Here Studios

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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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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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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