Proof positive that not every ugly hatchling is a swan.

THE UGLY DUCKLING

From the Fairy Tales for Clever Kids series

A stripped-down version of the classic tale that is all about its gimmick: An action is required on each screen in order to advance to the next.

Available in four European languages—English, Russian, German and French but not, curiously, Danish—the story is paired to pedestrian cartoons of animals floating slightly over generic country or farmyard scenes. The English translation is notably awkward (“The wind howled in his wings which were much more strongly than before”). A question or direction at the bottom of each screen requires readers to move or tap a visual element in order to advance. These are usually either arbitrary, like “Take the smallest egg to the basket” (the largest would have been more logical, considering the context), or no-brainers, such as “With what did the girl kick the duckling?” There are no other interactive features; no animations, audio narration, music—not even a page index. The story ends where it should but abruptly, with a “next” arrow leading to a link for purchasing other, presumably similarly repurposed tales in the series.

Proof positive that not every ugly hatchling is a swan. (iPad storybook app. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Stanislav Ustymenko

Review Posted Online: Oct. 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2012

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ALL THE COLORS OF THE EARTH

This heavily earnest celebration of multi-ethnicity combines full-bleed paintings of smiling children, viewed through a golden haze dancing, playing, planting seedlings, and the like, with a hyperbolic, disconnected text—``Dark as leopard spots, light as sand,/Children buzz with laughter that kisses our land...''— printed in wavy lines. Literal-minded readers may have trouble with the author's premise, that ``Children come in all the colors of the earth and sky and sea'' (green? blue?), and most of the children here, though of diverse and mixed racial ancestry, wear shorts and T-shirts and seem to be about the same age. Hamanaka has chosen a worthy theme, but she develops it without the humor or imagination that animates her Screen of Frogs (1993). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-688-11131-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1994

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Part of a spate of books intent on bringing the garbage collectors in children’s lives a little closer, this almost matches...

TRASHY TOWN

Listeners will quickly take up the percussive chorus—“Dump it in, smash it down, drive around the Trashy town! Is the trash truck full yet? NO”—as they follow burly Mr. Gilly, the garbage collector, on his rounds from park to pizza parlor and beyond.

Flinging cans and baskets around with ease, Mr. Gilly dances happily through streetscapes depicted with loud colors and large, blocky shapes; after a climactic visit to the dump, he roars home for a sudsy bath.

Part of a spate of books intent on bringing the garbage collectors in children’s lives a little closer, this almost matches Eve Merriam’s Bam Bam Bam (1995), also illustrated by Yaccarino, for sheer verbal and visual volume. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 30, 1999

ISBN: 0-06-027139-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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