This weird pig's unsatisfying story perhaps should have stayed a mystery.

THE PIG'S HEAD RAVINE

The mystery of a porcine stranger who steals food in the night is solved in a spookily crafted story from Chile.

Two boys, Rafa and Juan, accustomed to playing in the hills after dark, encounter a scary creature, one who has been raiding their town for food. The culprit is revealed to be the Pig's Head, who stands upright and wears clothes but is otherwise just a very hungry pig. Despite some design flourishes and an animation style that makes the pencil art layered with color appear to pop off the page, the story itself is a mess. Some uncomfortable hypotheses about the creature’s origin are explored (yes, that means implied bestiality), and many parents of younger readers won't be thrilled with a page with the sentence, "Hes [sic] ugly as Hell!" Text on an opening page is either badly translated or just poorly written: "One evening, the children found a scary creature, from which they have always heard, but never believed that existed, until then." The clever bits, such as a page with a variety of animals to colorize by touch, are outweighed by clunky storytelling. The app's sole extra feature, a song performed by the titular monster, completely fails to engage.

This weird pig's unsatisfying story perhaps should have stayed a mystery. (Requires iOS 7 and above.) (iPad storybook app. 5-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Cangrejo Ideas

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images.

THURGOOD

The life journey of the first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court and the incidents that formed him.

Thurgood Marshall grew up in segregated Baltimore, Maryland, with a family that encouraged him to stand for justice. Despite attending poor schools, he found a way to succeed. His father instilled in him a love of the law and encouraged him to argue like a lawyer during dinner conversations. His success in college meant he could go to law school, but the University of Maryland did not accept African American students. Instead, Marshall went to historically black Howard University, where he was mentored by civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall’s first major legal case was against the law school that denied him a place, and his success brought him to the attention of the NAACP and ultimately led to his work on the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education, which itself led to his appointment to the Supreme Court. This lively narrative serves as an introduction to the life of one of the country’s important civil rights figures. Important facts in Marshall’s life are effectively highlighted in an almost staccato fashion. The bold watercolor-and-collage illustrations, beginning with an enticing cover, capture and enhance the strong tone set by the words.

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images. (author’s note, photos) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6533-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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