Fans will love that Mr. Yankovic himself provides the optional narration and all sound effects (including all gorilla grunts...

WHEN I GROW UP

Voiced in rhymed couplets with a conscious tip of the hat to Seuss and Silverstein, this adaptation of the recently published book adds even more elements to an already overstuffed story—with unexpectedly good results.

The interactive features merge well with Hargis' comedic illustrations and serve to create an opportunity for the reader to slow down and enjoy the silliness in 8-year-old Billy's otherwise frenetic show-and-tell presentation. Games embedded in the app allow readers to try out some of his career choices, like snail trainer and gorilla masseuse. Tarantula shaving is by far the best of the three currently available games (two more are "coming soon"). Many of the interactions don't work easily, and some technical fixes are a must. Kids can make Billy chase the spotlight around the room or tap Mrs. Krupp to make bugs fly out of her hair. They can even write their name on a paper fish, tape it to the wall and see it appear throughout the rest of the book.

Fans will love that Mr. Yankovic himself provides the optional narration and all sound effects (including all gorilla grunts and snail cheers), injecting just a bit of the "Weird" that is missing from the print version back into the mix. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 14, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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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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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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