An inventive and entertaining introduction to the classic. And that kiss at the end: perfect.

READ REVIEW

THE VOYAGE OF ULYSSES

A delightfully entertaining telling of the tale of brave Ulysses.

This slimmed, prose version of Homer’s epic can be read aloud by a lilting narrator, or it can be read silently. All of the characters Ulysses meets on his long journey home are here—the Lotus Eaters, Polyphemus the Cyclops, Aeolus and the spiteful winds, Circe, the Sirens, Calypso, a truly scary Scylla—with a suitable amount of smoothly written text material to flesh out their backgrounds and roles. Pop-up boxes can be activated to provide further interpretive access to the tale. The stained-glass quality of the artwork is enchanting, as are the atmospheric background music and sounds. The interactive features are many and clever. Little hints are given for activating them—jugs do a quick tip to the side, Ulysses’ helmet tinks when touched—but the true joy here is the act of discovering the interactive features, which are not gimmies by any stretch: dragging a storm cloud against the sky to bedevil Ulysses’ boat, figuring out how Penelope weaves and unweaves the shroud, activating Circe’s fireworks or an island volcano, helping Polyphemus hurl a boulder at Ulysses’ ship and watching Poseidon rise from the waves. Readers, in essence, are exploring, just like our man Ulysses. That’s engagement.

An inventive and entertaining introduction to the classic. And that kiss at the end: perfect. (iPad epic app. 10 & up)

Pub Date: July 3, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Elastico srl

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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Brava! (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

DRAMA

From award winner Telgemeier (Smile, 2010), a pitch-perfect graphic novel portrayal of a middle school musical, adroitly capturing the drama both on and offstage.

Seventh-grader Callie Marin is over-the-moon to be on stage crew again this year for Eucalyptus Middle School’s production of Moon over Mississippi. Callie's just getting over popular baseball jock and eighth-grader Greg, who crushed her when he left Callie to return to his girlfriend, Bonnie, the stuck-up star of the play. Callie's healing heart is quickly captured by Justin and Jesse Mendocino, the two very cute twins who are working on the play with her. Equally determined to make the best sets possible with a shoestring budget and to get one of the Mendocino boys to notice her, the immensely likable Callie will find this to be an extremely drama-filled experience indeed. The palpably engaging and whip-smart characterization ensures that the charisma and camaraderie run high among those working on the production. When Greg snubs Callie in the halls and misses her reference to Guys and Dolls, one of her friends assuredly tells her, "Don't worry, Cal. We’re the cool kids….He's the dork." With the clear, stylish art, the strongly appealing characters and just the right pinch of drama, this book will undoubtedly make readers stand up and cheer.

Brava! (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-32698-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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