Edsel, a red-headed, blue-eyed boy, orders a life-sized model car in the mail. His room is filled with toy cars, auto...

EDSEL MACFARLAN'S NEW CAR

Automotively named Edsel McFarlan loves model cars and has a thrilling high-octane adventure when the toy of his dreams arrives in this visually zippy app that ultimately fails to kick into high gear on the interactive lane.

Edsel, a red-headed, blue-eyed boy, orders a life-sized model car in the mail. His room is filled with toy cars, auto posters, hubcaps and license plates. In the slickly illustrated pages of the app, based on a 2010 book, Edsel's delighted grins and body language lovingly capture the laser-focused obsession of a young boy in love with a hobby. When Edsel finishes his new model and takes it for a spin through town, the story amusingly follows Edsel through (seemingly harmless) trips through back yards, across an intersection and into a construction site. The intentionally simple and direct text ("The steering wheel turned the front tires") are a counterweight to the packed illustrations, which feature many background details, characters and life-like clutter. If only the app was as attention-oriented. The too-straightforward adaptation features narration and displays the names of objects on screen aloud, but that's about the extent of its interactivity. Such a motion-filled story could have benefited from a little animation or at least the inclusion of sound effects. (Pages that feature sound effects like "SNAP" or "KAR-EEK" spelled out in text cry out for aural accompaniment.) 

Pub Date: June 8, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Auryn

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Hee haw.

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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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