Utterly without subtlety, but there's little enough out there addressing the needs of transgender children that this can be...



Each sparkling, tap-happy screen of this version of the earnest 2010 book radiates the same relentless, if praiseworthy “Cherish Their Differences” message.

Literally radiates: Touching any character and many background details sets off spreading ripples of semitransparent heart shapes and, often, tinkling chimes too. The short text is a mother’s love note to her 4-year-old son, who enjoys wearing “girly dresses,” twirling like a ballerina and wearing a tiara. Noting that the lad is also lovingly accepted by his older brother, his father and playmates but not always by others, the narrator goes on to ask leading questions (“Would you laugh at him?”). Scripted responses follow (“I will not laugh at him”), appearing on translucent overlays in very large letters when certain lines of text are tapped. In the cartoon illustrations, stars pop into view and rise through pink skies as touches send balls bouncing, cause flowers to emit rapid drumbeats and make the boy (who looks considerably older than 4) and the other weirdly faceless human figures dance. An interactive counting game is shoehorned in midway through. “My Princess Boy is your Princess Boy,” the narrative concludes obscurely—a sentiment hinting that parents may have been the author’s intended audience all along.

Utterly without subtlety, but there's little enough out there addressing the needs of transgender children that this can be comfortably overlooked. (iPad bibliotherapy app. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2011


Page Count: -

Publisher: KDT Media

Review Posted Online: Nov. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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Like an ocean-going “Lion and the Mouse,” a humpback whale and a snail “with an itchy foot” help each other out in this cheery travelogue. Responding to a plaintive “Ride wanted around the world,” scrawled in slime on a coastal rock, whale picks up snail, then sails off to visit waters tropical and polar, stormy and serene before inadvertently beaching himself. Off hustles the snail, to spur a nearby community to action with another slimy message: “SAVE THE WHALE.” Donaldson’s rhyme, though not cumulative, sounds like “The house that Jack built”—“This is the tide coming into the bay, / And these are the villagers shouting, ‘HOORAY!’ / As the whale and the snail travel safely away. . . .” Looking in turn hopeful, delighted, anxious, awed, and determined, Scheffler’s snail, though tiny next to her gargantuan companion, steals the show in each picturesque seascape—and upon returning home, provides so enticing an account of her adventures that her fellow mollusks all climb on board the whale’s tail for a repeat voyage. Young readers will clamor to ride along. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8037-2922-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

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A trite, knock-off sequel to Jumanji (1981). The “Jumanji” box distracts Walter Budwing away from beating up on his little brother Danny, but it’s Danny who discovers the Zathura board inside—and in no time, Earth is far behind, a meteor has smashed through the roof, and a reptilian Zyborg pirate is crawling through the hole. Each throw of the dice brings an ominous new development, portrayed in grainy, penciled freeze frames featuring sculptured-looking figures in constricted, almost claustrophobic settings. The angles of view are, as always, wonderfully dramatic, but not only is much of the finer detail that contributed to Jumanji’s astonishing realism missing, the spectacular damage being done to the Budwings’ house as the game progresses is, by and large, only glimpsed around the picture edges. Naturally, having had his bacon repeatedly saved by his younger sibling’s quick thinking, once Walter falls through a black hole to a time preceding the game’s start, his attitude toward Danny undergoes a sudden, radical transformation. Van Allsburg’s imagination usually soars right along with his accomplished art—but here, both are just running in place. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2002

ISBN: 0-618-25396-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2002

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