Although designed for the iPad, this playful text fails to take advantage of the platform, ultimately providing an only...

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MONKEY AND CROC

In this simple jungle tale done as an app, Monkey and Croc are both going about their individual daily routines—but, unbeknownst to Monkey, he is quite close to becoming Croc’s next meal as their parallel routines dangerously converge.

Colorful cartoony illustrations fill each screen telling the bulk of Croc and Monkey’s story, with short textual reinforcement to make clear readers understand that as Monkey does something, Croc follows suit, including feeling hungry. Throughout, sentences are kept to just few words per page and often repeat, making this text amenable to beginning readers. Clicking the gear in the upper-left corner of all pages provides both a “read to me” setting and the option of including sound effects. The text is narrated at a reasonable, if not slow pace, and each word is highlighted as it is clearly enunciated. However, the narrator’s voice lacks variation and works against the story’s building tension. The sound effects feature a “munch, munch” effect when Croc is tapped, and, similarly, Monkey makes a stereotypical monkey sound. Despite opportunities for additional sound effects, these two sounds, which grow old quickly, are the only sounds featured.  

Although designed for the iPad, this playful text fails to take advantage of the platform, ultimately providing an only mildly amusing user experience. (iPad storybook app. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Jujubee

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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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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A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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