Not exactly feature rich, but good for a few roars from confirmed dragon lovers.

READ REVIEW

DRAGON LEGENDS

Occasional animations, subdued sound effects, a dreamy orchestral soundtrack and a video clip plump up this electronic version of the illustrator/composer’s Book of the Dragon (2005).

Ciruelo does paint good dragons—spiky, winged, solidly muscular, dramatically posed and covered in shimmering scales of diverse hue. Here he sets them rearing or soaring over a variety of heroes or fair maidens to illustrate 16 short tales loosely based on Classical or European legends. The contents open with Hercules twice tricking guileless Atlas (“You are so stupid you deserve your fate,” chides the guardian dragon Ladon) into helping to steal the Golden Apples of the Hesperides. It ends with a two-minute video of the artist in action and a selection of dragon wallpapers. In between, it pits Siegfried, Perseus, St. Martha, the prophet Daniel and other brave hearts against a variety of dragons who usually, though not invariably, come out second best. Most, not all, of the tales come with a low-volume bellow or two plus at least one illustration that fades in, pans or features a little movement. There is no audio reading, but the texts are available in English and four other European languages. Since the “autoplay” option moves the pages along far too quickly even for speed readers, it would be better to stick with manual advance. The lack of notes means readers who want to explore more will have to do a little bit of digging to find the source stories.

Not exactly feature rich, but good for a few roars from confirmed dragon lovers. (iPad storybook app. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Zentric

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t...

HURRICANE HARVEY

DISASTER IN TEXAS AND BEYOND

The devastation of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey is explained, from the storm’s origin to its ongoing aftermath, in this photo-heavy book.

In retelling the story of how a storm got so big it caused 82 deaths and billions of dollars in damage along the Texas coast, Minneapolis-based author Felix details the science of hurricanes for those unfamiliar and unpacks why this and a series of other hurricanes made for one of the most damaging weather years on record. Although it’s packed with info-boxes, a glossary, tips for safety during a hurricane and helping survivors afterward, a snapshot of five other historic hurricanes, and well-curated photos, it misses an opportunity to convey some of the emotion and pain victims endured and continue to feel. Instead, much of the text feels like a summation of news reports, an efficient attempt to answer the whys of Hurricane Harvey, with only a few direct quotations. Readers learn about Virgil Smith, a Dickinson, Texas, teen who rescued others from floodwaters with an air mattress, but the information is secondhand. The book does answer, clearly and concisely, questions a kid might have about a hurricane, such as what happens to animals at the zoo in such an emergency and how a tropical storm forms in the first place. A portion of the book’s proceeds are to be donated to the Texas Library Association’s Disaster Relief Fund.

The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t capture the fear and shock those who lived through the hurricane must have felt. (Nonfiction. 9-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2888-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2018

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A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers.

DON'T READ THIS BOOK BEFORE BED

THRILLS, CHILLS, AND HAUNTINGLY TRUE STORIES

A compendium of paranormal doings, natural horrors, and eerie wonders worldwide and (in several senses) beyond.

Maladroit title aside (“…in Bed” would make more sense, cautionwise), this collection of hauntings, cryptids, natural and historical mysteries, and general titillation (“Vampire bats might be coming for you!”) offers a broad array of reasons to stay wide awake. Arranged in no discernible order the 60-plus entries include ghostly sightings in the White House and various castles, body-burrowing guinea worms, the Nazca lines of Peru, Mothman and Nessie, the hastily abandoned city of Pripyat (which, thanks to the Chernobyl disaster, may be habitable again…in 24,000 years), monarch-butterfly migrations, and diverse rains of fish, frogs, fireballs, and unidentified slime. Each is presented in a busy whirl of narrative blocks, photos, graphics, side comments, and arbitrary “Fright-O-Meter” ratings (Paris’ “Creepy Catacombs” earn just a “4” out of 10 and black holes a “3,” but the aforementioned aerial amphibians a full “10”). The headers tend toward the lurid: “Jelly From Space,” “Zombie Ants,” “Mongolian Death Worm.” Claybourne sprinkles multiple-choice pop quizzes throughout for changes of pace.

A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2841-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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