Not quite crash-proof but a thoroughgoing delight featuring new content galore and cutting-edge visual effects.

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MIRRORWORLD

From the Mirrorworld series

A companion to Funke’s two-volume Mirrorworld series, driven by spectacular graphics and positively loaded with both worldbuilding detail and back stories for many of the characters and events in the books.

The wonders begin immediately after the title screen, with a mirror that “reflects” the viewer’s own face (via camera app) and ripples with repeated taps to open a 360-degree view of Albert Chanute’s Ogre Tavern. This is an atmospheric room studded with trophies that lead with further taps to eight original tales or poems and six collections of documentary material. The stories and poems range from Jacob Reckless’ first meetings with Chanute and with Fox to a gruesome yarn about a tailor who works with human skin. These are illustrated in a rich variety of styles and (optionally) read by the author. Five can also be experienced in “Spectacle” versions as a multilayer sliding panorama, a live-action video converted to shadow puppetry or in another animation technique. Juicy side features include a journal of notes on ogre types that ends abruptly with a splatter of blood and a motley set of “Child-Eating Witch Recipes” read with rather indecent relish by a cast of children. Navigation is easy thanks to a slide-in menu that offers quick trips to either the tavern or to a more conventional table of contents.

Not quite crash-proof but a thoroughgoing delight featuring new content galore and cutting-edge visual effects. (Requires iOS 6 and above.) (iPad fantasy app. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 17, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Mirada

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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A brisk, buffed-up finish threaded with inner and outer, not to mention sartorial, changes.

THE TOWER OF NERO

From the Trials of Apollo series , Vol. 5

In this tumultuous series closer, Apollo, transformed into a mortal teenager, takes on both a deified emperor in a luxurious Manhattan high-rise and an older adversary.

Lester/Apollo’s coast-to-coast quest reaches its climactic stage as, with help from both eager squads of fledgling demigods from Camp Half-Blood and reluctant allies from realms deep below New York, he invades the palatial lair of Emperor Nero—followed by a solo bout with another foe from a past struggle. Riordan lays on the transformation of the heedless, arrogant sun god to a repentant lover of his long-neglected semidivine offspring and of humanity in general, which has served as the series’ binding theme, thickly enough to have his humbled narrator even apologizing (twice!) to his underwear for having to change it periodically. Still, the author delivers a fast, action-driven plot with high stakes, lots of fighting, and occasional splashes of gore brightened by banter and silly bits, so readers aren’t likely to mind all the hand-wringing. He also leaves any real-life parallels to the slick, megalomaniacal, emotionally abusive Nero entirely up to readers to discern and dishes out just deserts all round, neatly tying up loose ends in a set of closing vignettes. The supporting cast is predominantly White, with passing mention of diverse representation.

A brisk, buffed-up finish threaded with inner and outer, not to mention sartorial, changes. (glossary) (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4847-4645-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2020

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Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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