By taking a kitchen-sink approach, Penguin has made a fine, abundant app that easily earns its official status. But there's...

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THE ORIGINAL TALE OF PETER RABBIT

While it's not the most elegant, magical app translation of Beatrix Potter's most famous work, this expansive edition throws in everything it can to reproduce and enhance the original text.

Penguin Group, the owners of F. Warne, the original publishers of the distinctive, diminutive book, takes great pains in an opening screen to let readers know that this is "The Original Tale of Peter Rabbit™." A little later, readers learn it is "The original and authorized edition." It smacks of insecurity, given that there's already a lovely, nearly perfect version in the App Store developed by Loud Crow Interactive. While the story and illustrations are done in a standard-issue paper-book format with optional narration and nominal animation, the extras are what make this version stand apart. Four sets of games—including matching, a "Hide Peter" game, "Hungry Bunny," which involves catching falling food, and a coloring option—are all expertly put together. But the stand-out feature is a set of four locations—the toolshed, the burrow, the wood and the vegetable garden—that readers can explore from the main menu or from within the story when a button for that area appears. The source material, of course, is always worth a read, but what in the hands of Loud Crow seemed revelatory (it set the standard for such adaptations), in this adaptation feels predictably by-the-numbers.

By taking a kitchen-sink approach, Penguin has made a fine, abundant app that easily earns its official status. But there's a better app out there that makes reading the story even more enjoyable and that makes this one pale in comparison. (iPad storybook app. 3-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 24, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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ROOM ON THE BROOM

Each time the witch loses something in the windy weather, she and her cat are introduced to a new friend who loves flying on her broom. The fluid rhyming and smooth rhythm work together with one repetitive plot element focusing young attention spans until the plot quickens. (“Is there room on the broom for a blank such as me?”) When the witch’s broom breaks, she is thrown in to danger and the plot flies to the finish. Her friends—cat, dog, frog, and bird—are not likely to scare the dragon who plans on eating the witch, but together they form a formidable, gooey, scary-sounding monster. The use of full-page or even page-and-a-half spreads for many of the illustrations will ensure its successful use in story times as well as individual readings. The wart-nosed witch and her passengers make magic that is sure to please. Effective use of brilliant colors set against well-conceived backgrounds detail the story without need for text—but with it, the story—and the broom—take off. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8037-2557-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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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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