Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith

Rating: 5 out of 5
Reading level: Ages 3 and up
Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (May 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0545261244
ISBN-13: 978-0545261241
Illustrator: Kaz Cowley
To purchase the iphone/ipad app go to the itunes store. At the time of this post the app cost $5.49 AU

The Wonky Donkey is a humorous tale about a donkey walking along the road. What is funny about a donkey walking along the road? I hear you say well the donkey is not a normal donkey, for starters he is a wonky donkey. From there the story slowly builds a hilarious description of the donkey who is rather different. For this post I am combining the review of the book (which I have purchased for nephews) and the ipad app (which my son has).

This can be read as a normal story or sung along to with the CD that comes with the book. It is a cumulative story with each page adding to the description before it. So each page reveals a new feature and the story repeats previous features plus the new one. By the end of the book you have a long but funny list of descriptive words of this funny donkey.

There are lots of funny noises like the donkey's hee-haw and funny words (well funny to a toddler or child) like stinky. As a reader you can go to town on these descriptive words and noises and have some fun by really emphasising the words and playing on it. For instance at the line "stinky donkey" I will say the sentence like the donkey is right there stinking up the place and then hold my fingers to my nose to block the smell. Then during the hee-haws say it like a donkey (or your interpretation of a donkey hee-haw) and do it really loudly.

But the illustrations make this book. They are fun and bright. Mostly they capture the cheeky nature of the donkey and the story. Katz Cowley has done an amazing job. You know when sometimes the illustrations and the story just go together? you couldn't imagine the story with any other kind of illustrations? This is one of those stories/books.

The iphone/ipad application is basic in terms of the animation, it is literally just the book illustrations with a small amount of animation (like the tale wagging or a bee flying). This for me is fine my son has apps that go wizz and bang and do stuff (see my review for Cozmos Day Off for that kind of app/ebook). You can record your own voice, the sing along version, or use the prerecorded voices (there is the author and the narrator). I personally love the narrator's voice he just really captures the story in a vivid way for a child.

As each word is read aloud by the narrator, the word highlights and becomes bigger, so your child can follow along. Also if you tap the individual word but you need to be out of the Read to me mode to do that. It is easy enough to switch between the read to me mode and no narration by just pressing the green play or stop button in the corner. There is also a basic colouring in feature but to be honest we have never used it.

I highly recommend this story, I have not met a child yet who does not like this story. It is VERY popular with kids. When I was working in a book store this book could not stay on the shelves, the minute we got a batch of books in they would fly out the door the next day. I am not exaggerating. You will not be disappointed reading this book and your kiddies will not be disappointed with you reading it.

Here is a cute video of the song "The Wonky Donkey". This is the book but in song format.

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