Fine amusement, elegant illustrations and a decent-enough story—and readers can play on as independent pilots to their...

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PLANES STORYBOOK DELUXE

A thoroughly enjoyable, hands-on aviation app twined with a story of the little plane that could, from Disney.

Dusty is a lowly crop-duster, but he has big plans: entering the Wings Around the Globe Race and showing the world just what a crop-duster can do. When he starts showing his stuff, other planes—especially Skipper, the old warplane, who has a surprise story of his own—come to his aid when needed. This is often, since there are thugs and betrayers out there wishing Dusty nothing but a crash landing. The story has its moments—lots of camaraderie and the glories of resolve—but two non-narrative elements really give this app its varoom. The first is the artwork, which emphasizes the fairy-tale quality of the story while coaxing a distinctly exotic feel from such locales as China, India, Mexico and an aircraft carrier. Even cooler, readers pilot the planes by tilting the iPad this way and that to fly through circles and collect fuel, with the ability to choose different levels of difficulty and different planes to fly. Plus, there are 6 languages to select from, so readers can brush up on their French as they try to get Dusty through an ice storm or a Swiss tunnel.

Fine amusement, elegant illustrations and a decent-enough story—and readers can play on as independent pilots to their hearts’ content. (iPad movie tie-in app. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 11, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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ZATHURA

A trite, knock-off sequel to Jumanji (1981). The “Jumanji” box distracts Walter Budwing away from beating up on his little brother Danny, but it’s Danny who discovers the Zathura board inside—and in no time, Earth is far behind, a meteor has smashed through the roof, and a reptilian Zyborg pirate is crawling through the hole. Each throw of the dice brings an ominous new development, portrayed in grainy, penciled freeze frames featuring sculptured-looking figures in constricted, almost claustrophobic settings. The angles of view are, as always, wonderfully dramatic, but not only is much of the finer detail that contributed to Jumanji’s astonishing realism missing, the spectacular damage being done to the Budwings’ house as the game progresses is, by and large, only glimpsed around the picture edges. Naturally, having had his bacon repeatedly saved by his younger sibling’s quick thinking, once Walter falls through a black hole to a time preceding the game’s start, his attitude toward Danny undergoes a sudden, radical transformation. Van Allsburg’s imagination usually soars right along with his accomplished art—but here, both are just running in place. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2002

ISBN: 0-618-25396-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2002

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ROOM ON THE BROOM

Each time the witch loses something in the windy weather, she and her cat are introduced to a new friend who loves flying on her broom. The fluid rhyming and smooth rhythm work together with one repetitive plot element focusing young attention spans until the plot quickens. (“Is there room on the broom for a blank such as me?”) When the witch’s broom breaks, she is thrown in to danger and the plot flies to the finish. Her friends—cat, dog, frog, and bird—are not likely to scare the dragon who plans on eating the witch, but together they form a formidable, gooey, scary-sounding monster. The use of full-page or even page-and-a-half spreads for many of the illustrations will ensure its successful use in story times as well as individual readings. The wart-nosed witch and her passengers make magic that is sure to please. Effective use of brilliant colors set against well-conceived backgrounds detail the story without need for text—but with it, the story—and the broom—take off. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8037-2557-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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