AESOP'S WHEEL OF FABLES

The unlikely offspring of Wheel of Fortune and ancient Greece, this app collects 20 of Aesop's fables as wedges on a large spinner. The app instructs readers to "Spin Your Fables," and when readers align a story with a pointer, a two- to four-page story with illustrations opens, complete with such morals as, "Expect no reward for serving the wicked" ("Wolf and the Crane"), and, "The race is not always to the swift" ("The Hare and the Tortoise"). The wheel is meant to be the app's killer feature, but it often works choppily, making one wish for a simple index instead. The stories themselves are elegantly illustrated with the appropriate level of seriousness for the weighty tales; wolves look menacing and sinister, while the shelled racer in "The Hare and the Tortoise" appears determined and ancient. English narration is offered (Chinese, Japanese and German are also available), as is the option to record your own reading. As a bonus, the more stories that are read, the more "Spot the Difference" puzzles are unlocked. The fables, timeless as they may be, don't skimp on animal violence ("The Goose and the Golden Egg") or carnal romance ("The Rose and the Butterfly") to make their point. Definitely unusual, but not as revolutionary as it appears. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2010

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Jan. 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2011

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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