The app’s primary appeal lies in the presentation of a template that may work out better when A New Hope and its two sequels...



From the Star Wars Journeys series

More forced than blessed with the Force, this app of the oft-reviled first Star Wars prequel will nevertheless please some fans.

Not unlike the film it’s based on, the storybook-app version is packed with clutter, has a story that clangs when it should sing and feels bloated. An opening “Loading assets” screen takes far too long to get going, and the story still stinks. But that won’t matter to young Star Wars fans and apologists for the prequels, who’ll find a lot to love. There’s a full-blown pod-racing arcade game included that’s surprisingly deep; it has a large selection of vehicles and characters and keeps track of points earned by navigating the “Story Experience” narrative or by winning races. Those points also unlock “Profiles” about characters, settings and vehicles from the story. The artwork and animation are lush, the narration has verve, and the sound effects and music are terrific. The pages themselves are panoramas that can be scrolled by touch or by moving the device left and right. It’s a neat trick, almost as neat as the optional pod-racing game controls allowing the iPad to be moved around rather than controlled by clunky on-screen buttons.

The app’s primary appeal lies in the presentation of a template that may work out better when A New Hope and its two sequels arrive in the Star Wars Journeys series . (iPad storybook app. 6-12)

Pub Date: May 1, 2014


Page Count: -

Publisher: Disney Publishing Worldwide

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.


From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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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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