The moral at the end drops more heavily than the rocks into the pot, but that doesn’t spoil the tale’s ever-nutritious theme.

READ REVIEW

STONE SOUP

A sweet version of the classic story features a trio of traveling bunnies and much tap-activated bouncing and giggling.

The text is just a bit too long to fit into single views on each screen, and there are a few rough patches, translationwise (“When spring came, three rabbits went on a journey to afar in the bright sunshine of springtime”). Nevertheless, the tale runs along smoothly whether read aloud with careful deliberation by several high-pitched narrators or in “Read Myself” mode. The wide-eyed, all-animal cartoon cast blinks on its own but wiggles and twitches back and forth with, usually, an electronic boop or other sound effect when touched; on one screen, multiple taps not only turn day into night before the climactic feast, but convey the delicious soup’s aroma with brilliant displays of multicolored stars and fireworks. The page advance is only manual, which allows readers to control the pacing, and an inconspicuous gear icon on every screen allows access to a page index and replay button, as well as sound and (English/Chinese) language switches, plus the now-standard quick access to various social media.

The moral at the end drops more heavily than the rocks into the pot, but that doesn’t spoil the tale’s ever-nutritious theme. (iPad storybook app. 5-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Wawa Mouse

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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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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THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE

Like an ocean-going “Lion and the Mouse,” a humpback whale and a snail “with an itchy foot” help each other out in this cheery travelogue. Responding to a plaintive “Ride wanted around the world,” scrawled in slime on a coastal rock, whale picks up snail, then sails off to visit waters tropical and polar, stormy and serene before inadvertently beaching himself. Off hustles the snail, to spur a nearby community to action with another slimy message: “SAVE THE WHALE.” Donaldson’s rhyme, though not cumulative, sounds like “The house that Jack built”—“This is the tide coming into the bay, / And these are the villagers shouting, ‘HOORAY!’ / As the whale and the snail travel safely away. . . .” Looking in turn hopeful, delighted, anxious, awed, and determined, Scheffler’s snail, though tiny next to her gargantuan companion, steals the show in each picturesque seascape—and upon returning home, provides so enticing an account of her adventures that her fellow mollusks all climb on board the whale’s tail for a repeat voyage. Young readers will clamor to ride along. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8037-2922-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

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