A painless, often entertaining way to get broad handles on our chief executives’ achievements and challenges.

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DISNEY AMERICAN PRESIDENTS

An “Un-Official Oval Office Scrapbook,” built around video featurettes on each of our presidents.

Production values rule. An elaborately designed opening animation smoothly gives way to 44 uncluttered “page spreads” that each contain a period portrait, a fact box and a handful of pop-up asides (“Octodad” John Tyler “had eight children, the most of any President”). There are also a historical or fanciful sound bite (“Go ahead, make my next term,” proclaims two-timer Grover Cleveland) and a resizable two- to six-minute video. These last offer glib overviews of each presidential administration paired with lively mixes of caricatures, contemporary art and talking-head comments from a range of modern pundits and scholars. Except for a common but specious claim that Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation to “end slavery in the United States” and an entry for Obama that ends before the recent elections, each profile presents a relatively accurate picture. They are mostly positive in tone, but there are mentions at least of such lowlights as Jackson’s Indian Removal Act, Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus, Nixon’s “crimes” and Clinton’s “inappropriate relationship.” A full-screen, slide-out collective portrait gallery serves as an index.

A painless, often entertaining way to get broad handles on our chief executives’ achievements and challenges. (iPad informational app. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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DIARY OF A WIMPY KID

A NOVEL IN CARTOONS

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 1

First volume of a planned three, this edited version of an ongoing online serial records a middle-school everykid’s triumphs and (more often) tribulations through the course of a school year. Largely through his own fault, mishaps seem to plague Greg at every turn, from the minor freak-outs of finding himself permanently seated in class between two pierced stoners and then being saddled with his mom for a substitute teacher, to being forced to wrestle in gym with a weird classmate who has invited him to view his “secret freckle.” Presented in a mix of legible “hand-lettered” text and lots of simple cartoon illustrations with the punch lines often in dialogue balloons, Greg’s escapades, unwavering self-interest and sardonic commentary are a hoot and a half—certain to elicit both gales of giggles and winces of sympathy (not to mention recognition) from young readers. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8109-9313-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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  • Newbery Honor Book

BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE

A 10-year old girl learns to adjust to a strange town, makes some fascinating friends, and fills the empty space in her heart thanks to a big old stray dog in this lyrical, moving, and enchanting book by a fresh new voice. India Opal’s mama left when she was only three, and her father, “the preacher,” is absorbed in his own loss and in the work of his new ministry at the Open-Arms Baptist Church of Naomi [Florida]. Enter Winn-Dixie, a dog who “looked like a big piece of old brown carpet that had been left out in the rain.” But, this dog had a grin “so big that it made him sneeze.” And, as Opal says, “It’s hard not to immediately fall in love with a dog who has a good sense of humor.” Because of Winn-Dixie, Opal meets Miss Franny Block, an elderly lady whose papa built her a library of her own when she was just a little girl and she’s been the librarian ever since. Then, there’s nearly blind Gloria Dump, who hangs the empty bottle wreckage of her past from the mistake tree in her back yard. And, Otis, oh yes, Otis, whose music charms the gerbils, rabbits, snakes and lizards he’s let out of their cages in the pet store. Brush strokes of magical realism elevate this beyond a simple story of friendship to a well-crafted tale of community and fellowship, of sweetness, sorrow and hope. And, it’s funny, too. A real gem. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7636-0776-2

Page Count: 182

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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