Smooth of presentation, if simple of message; the very small, very pink, very photogenic piggy in the lead role helps to...

CHRIS P. BACON

MY LIFE SO FAR...

Paired with a mix of snapshots and cartoon art, a (real) piglet born without functional hind legs offers a sugary memoir retracing his climb to YouTube and TV celebrity.

He’s kitted out by veterinarian Dr. Len—“Dad, as I call him now”—with his rather ominous name and a small wheeled cart (“How awesome, I thought. ‘Oink-Oink,’ I said”). Chatty Chris recalls watching himself on the Web scooting about and then going on tour to demonstrate how, with “a little help—and a lot of grunting” and an upbeat attitude, anything is possible: “If you think positive, who knows what you can do?! Or in other words, Oinkity-Oink-Oink-Oink!” Minor animations aside, most of the movement in the illustrations is provided by automatic or swipe-activated pans. Along with a silent mode, auto-play and a self-record option for the narrative, every word in the text, oinks and all, can be revoiced with a tap. Likewise, touching any figure or detail in the illustrations, even the “wall” and “floor,” calls forth an aural label, as per Oceanhouse’s standard.

Smooth of presentation, if simple of message; the very small, very pink, very photogenic piggy in the lead role helps to compensate for his saccharine delivery. (photo album appended) (iPad storybook app. 5-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Oceanhouse Media

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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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 dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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