If you need to buy any Brave tie-in, this is the one.

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BRAVE INTERACTIVE COMIC

A reasonably full version of the Pixar film’s storyline illustrated with flat, lively cartoons rather than stills.

The tale features mother-daughter spats in a medieval castle, rides through ruggedly beautiful countryside, fights with and between giant bears and a princess as strong-willed as her wild thicket of red hair. It is set into variously shaped panels that appear one at a time in sequence with taps on the right edge of each screen. The background music is drawn from the movie, as is most of the boxed narrative commentary and the dialogue in balloons (from “It’s not just a story. Legends are lessons; they ring with truth.” to “That scaffy witch gave me a gamy spell!”). Fades and glides add a sense of movement on each screen, and except that Queen Elinor sounds like Chewbacca after she’s transformed into a bear, the sound effects effectively add both atmosphere and drama to the quickly paced tale. Unobtrusive and pleasing side features include several elaborate character portraits by the film’s conceptual artists and an interactive drawing board for figures of Princess Merida and the five bears in the story. Though trailing the movie’s “Storybook Deluxe” app in sophistication of art and software gimmickry, this iteration offers much more developed renditions of its progenitor’s plot, cast (female cast, anyway: The men are all just humongous galoots) and themes.

If you need to buy any Brave tie-in, this is the one. (iPad graphic-novel app. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 17, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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What a wag.

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DOG MAN

What do you get from sewing the head of a smart dog onto the body of a tough police officer? A new superhero from the incorrigible creator of Captain Underpants.

Finding a stack of old Dog Man comics that got them in trouble back in first grade, George and Harold decide to craft a set of new(ish) adventures with (more or less) improved art and spelling. These begin with an origin tale (“A Hero Is Unleashed”), go on to a fiendish attempt to replace the chief of police with a “Robo Chief” and then a temporarily successful scheme to make everyone stupid by erasing all the words from every book (“Book ’Em, Dog Man”), and finish off with a sort of attempted alien invasion evocatively titled “Weenie Wars: The Franks Awaken.” In each, Dog Man squares off against baddies (including superinventor/archnemesis Petey the cat) and saves the day with a clever notion. With occasional pauses for Flip-O-Rama featurettes, the tales are all framed in brightly colored sequential panels with hand-lettered dialogue (“How do you feel, old friend?” “Ruff!”) and narrative. The figures are studiously diverse, with police officers of both genders on view and George, the chief, and several other members of the supporting cast colored in various shades of brown. Pilkey closes as customary with drawing exercises, plus a promise that the canine crusader will be further unleashed in a sequel.

What a wag. (Graphic fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-58160-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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TEA WITH MILK

In describing how his parents met, Say continues to explore the ways that differing cultures can harmonize; raised near San Francisco and known as May everywhere except at home, where she is Masako, the child who will grow up to be Say’s mother becomes a misfit when her family moves back to Japan. Rebelling against attempts to force her into the mold of a traditional Japanese woman, she leaves for Osaka, finds work as a department store translator, and meets Joseph, a Chinese businessman who not only speaks English, but prefers tea with milk and sugar, and persuades her that “home isn’t a place or a building that’s ready-made or waiting for you, in America or anywhere else.” Painted with characteristic control and restraint, Say’s illustrations, largely portraits, begin with a sepia view of a sullen child in a kimono, gradually take on distinct, subdued color, and end with a formal shot of the smiling young couple in Western dress. A stately cousin to Ina R. Friedman’s How My Parents Learned To Eat (1984), also illustrated by Say. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-90495-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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