A repackaging, by and large, but rich in features and close enough to the originals to preserve their attractions.

SHADOW RANCH

From the Nancy Drew series

A text-centered but gamer-friendly e-version of one of Nancy Drew’s more popular cases.

Reworked from the most recent revision of Nancy Drew #5: The Secret of Shadow Ranch (1931, 1965, 1993) and its 2004 video-game version, this iteration sticks to the same general plot but runs through multiple tracks. The updated, present-tense narrative (“Y’all ain’t gonna be textin, tweeterin and titterin while the rest of us’re singin, are ya?”) is liberally strewn with links to “collectible” icons, color spot art with touch-activated sound effects and side games (horse races, “hidden object” tableaus and word scrambles, for instance). Readers can also decode messages, identify suspects, affect events at frequent intervals by making choices (though sometimes there is but one “choice” offered) and even listen to abbreviated versions of cowboy songs. Children fond of skipping ahead will be frustrated, as in the first run-through the eight chapters can only be read in order, and some choices lead to dead ends requiring a return to the chapter’s beginning. For all the video game–style illustrations and the requirement that readers sign in as “players,” there is very little animation—but the mix of cliffhangers and interactive distractions should keep both budding sleuths and video addicts absorbed.

A repackaging, by and large, but rich in features and close enough to the originals to preserve their attractions. (iPad mystery/game. 9-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Her Interactive

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

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A smart, fresh take on an old favorite makes for a terrific series kickoff

THE GREAT SHELBY HOLMES

From the Shelby Holmes series , Vol. 1

A modern Sherlock Holmes retelling brings an 11-year-old black John Watson into the sphere of know-it-all 9-year-old white detective Shelby Holmes.

John's an Army brat who's lived in four states already. Now, with his parents' divorce still fresh, the boy who's lived only on military bases must explore the wilds of Harlem. His new life in 221A Baker St. begins inauspiciously, as before he's even finished moving in, his frizzy-haired neighbor blows something up: "BOOM!" But John's great at making friends, and Shelby certainly seems like an interesting kid to know. Oddly loquacious, brusque, and extremely observant, Shelby's locally famous for solving mysteries. John’s swept up in her detecting when a wealthy, brown-skinned classmate enlists their help in the mysterious disappearance of her beloved show dog, Daisy. Whatever could have happened to the prizewinning Cavalier King Charles spaniel? Has she been swiped by a jealous competitor? Has Daisy’s trainer—mysteriously come into enough money to take a secret weekend in Cozumel—been placing bets against his own dog? Brisk pacing, likable characters, a few silly Holmes jokes ("I'm Petunia Cumberbatch," says Shelby while undercover), and a diverse neighborhood, carefully and realistically described by John, are ingredients for success.

A smart, fresh take on an old favorite makes for a terrific series kickoff . (Mystery. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68119-051-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Epic—in plot, not length—and as wise and wonderful as Gerald Morris’ Arthurian exploits.

KNIGHTS VS. DINOSAURS

Who needs dragons when there are Terrible Lizards to be fought?

Having recklessly boasted to King Arthur and the court that he’d slain 40 dragons, Sir Erec can hardly refuse when Merlin offers him more challenging foes…and so it is that in no time (so to speak), Erec, with bookish Sir Hector, the silent and enigmatic Black Knight, and blustering Sir Bors with his thin but doughty squire, Mel, in tow, are hewing away at fearsome creatures sporting natural armor and weapons every bit as effective as knightly ones. Happily, while all the glorious mashing and bashing leads to awesome feats aplenty—who would suspect that a ravening T. Rex could be decked by a well-placed punch to the jaw?—when the dust settles neither bloodshed nor permanent injury has been dealt to either side. Better yet, not even the stunning revelation that two of the Three Stooges–style bumblers aren’t what they seem (“Anyone else here a girl?”) keeps the questers from developing into a well-knit team capable of repeatedly saving one another’s bacon. Phelan endows the all-white human cast with finely drawn, eloquently expressive faces but otherwise works in a loose, movement-filled style, pitting his clanking crew against an almost nonstop onslaught of toothy monsters in a monochrome mix of single scenes and occasional wordless sequential panels.

Epic—in plot, not length—and as wise and wonderful as Gerald Morris’ Arthurian exploits. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-268623-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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