Readers themselves will be in need of rescue from this abominable adaptation.

ROBINSON CRUSOE

A drastically abbreviated and uncommonly inept version of the classic survival tale.

Crusoe’s paraphrased narrative sweeps through the original’s major events up to the stranded traveler’s rescue—then on the last page suddenly cuts to a scene from Defoe’s lesser-known sequel for a one paragraph account of Friday’s death. The classic tale has been slashed to 15 screens of large text that is well-stocked with typos and interleaved with clumsy, sometimes irrelevant tilt- or touch-sensitive cartoon illustrations. Interactive effects include a “shooting gallery” in which the rifle points away from the moving pirate and a platter that inexplicably slides back and forth on the table in Crusoe’s shack. There are several screens on which foliage that can’t be completely moved aside covers parts of the text, and the superfluous firelit set of grimacing “cannibals” and flickable skulls have nothing whatsoever to do with the accompanying narrative. Furthermore, the menu’s index icon opens a tiny window almost impossible to scroll, and (in this version) the change-language icon shows only an option for English.

Readers themselves will be in need of rescue from this abominable adaptation. (iPad storybook app. 9-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bee Gang

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Simple, bella, un regalo permenente: simple and beautiful, a gift that will stay.

HOW TÍA LOLA CAME TO (VISIT) STAY

From the Tía Lola Stories series , Vol. 1

Renowned Latin American writer Alvarez has created another story about cultural identity, but this time the primary character is 11-year-old Miguel Guzmán. 

When Tía Lola arrives to help the family, Miguel and his hermana, Juanita, have just moved from New York City to Vermont with their recently divorced mother. The last thing Miguel wants, as he's trying to fit into a predominantly white community, is a flamboyant aunt who doesn't speak a word of English. Tía Lola, however, knows a language that defies words; she quickly charms and befriends all the neighbors. She can also cook exotic food, dance (anywhere, anytime), plan fun parties, and tell enchanting stories. Eventually, Tía Lola and the children swap English and Spanish ejercicios, but the true lesson is "mutual understanding." Peppered with Spanish words and phrases, Alvarez makes the reader as much a part of the "language" lessons as the characters. This story seamlessly weaves two culturaswhile letting each remain intact, just as Miguel is learning to do with his own life. Like all good stories, this one incorporates a lesson just subtle enough that readers will forget they're being taught, but in the end will understand themselves, and others, a little better, regardless of la lengua nativa—the mother tongue.

Simple, bella, un regalo permenente: simple and beautiful, a gift that will stay. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-80215-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

Did you like this book?

RED-EYED TREE FROG

Bishop’s spectacular photographs of the tiny red-eyed tree frog defeat an incidental text from Cowley (Singing Down the Rain, 1997, etc.). The frog, only two inches long, is enormous in this title; it appears along with other nocturnal residents of the rain forests of Central America, including the iguana, ant, katydid, caterpillar, and moth. In a final section, Cowley explains how small the frog is and aspects of its life cycle. The main text, however, is an afterthought to dramatic events in the photos, e.g., “But the red-eyed tree frog has been asleep all day. It wakes up hungry. What will it eat? Here is an iguana. Frogs do not eat iguanas.” Accompanying an astonishing photograph of the tree frog leaping away from a boa snake are three lines (“The snake flicks its tongue. It tastes frog in the air. Look out, frog!”) that neither advance nor complement the action. The layout employs pale and deep green pages and typeface, and large jewel-like photographs in which green and red dominate. The combination of such visually sophisticated pages and simplistic captions make this a top-heavy, unsatisfying title. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-87175-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

Did you like this book?

more