In the rush to digital storytelling, traditional tales are being used as sources, but without creative injections of...



Has anything been added to the classic Hindu epic of kidnapping, rescue and true love in this latest incarnation?

The Ramayana has been retold for thousands of years through oral storytelling, dance, shadow-puppet plays, theater, films, picture books and graphic novels. The beautiful Sita is stolen by the 10-headed demon Ravan, and Ram, her husband, must try to rescue her. The Monkey God, Hanuman, and his many followers aid him. In this app, two contemporary children listen to Hanuman narrate the story and occasionally appear in the story, which is viewable with and without narration. The narrator is difficult to understand at first, but as the story continues, the Indian-accented voice draws listeners into the complex tale. The children don monkey masks, and one of the few interactive actions allows users to pull the masks away from their faces, triggering a sound effect. Some pages, particularly some of the battle scenes, feature animation, though there are no add-on activities to enhance the story. There is a button that enables readers to return to any page. The illustrations are attractive, but the stylized characters are static. A few pages are very dark, obscuring the action.

In the rush to digital storytelling, traditional tales are being used as sources, but without creative injections of technology, the medium doesn’t enhance the message: Skip it. (iPad storybook. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 2, 2013


Page Count: -

Publisher: Amar Chitra Katha Pvt. Ltd.

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images.


The life journey of the first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court and the incidents that formed him.

Thurgood Marshall grew up in segregated Baltimore, Maryland, with a family that encouraged him to stand for justice. Despite attending poor schools, he found a way to succeed. His father instilled in him a love of the law and encouraged him to argue like a lawyer during dinner conversations. His success in college meant he could go to law school, but the University of Maryland did not accept African American students. Instead, Marshall went to historically black Howard University, where he was mentored by civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall’s first major legal case was against the law school that denied him a place, and his success brought him to the attention of the NAACP and ultimately led to his work on the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education, which itself led to his appointment to the Supreme Court. This lively narrative serves as an introduction to the life of one of the country’s important civil rights figures. Important facts in Marshall’s life are effectively highlighted in an almost staccato fashion. The bold watercolor-and-collage illustrations, beginning with an enticing cover, capture and enhance the strong tone set by the words.

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images. (author’s note, photos) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6533-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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