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

RAMAYANA

AS TOLD BY HANUMAN

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

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Amar Chitra Katha Pvt. Ltd.

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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What a wag.

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DOG MAN

From the Dog Man series , Vol. 1

What do you get from sewing the head of a smart dog onto the body of a tough police officer? A new superhero from the incorrigible creator of Captain Underpants.

Finding a stack of old Dog Man comics that got them in trouble back in first grade, George and Harold decide to craft a set of new(ish) adventures with (more or less) improved art and spelling. These begin with an origin tale (“A Hero Is Unleashed”), go on to a fiendish attempt to replace the chief of police with a “Robo Chief” and then a temporarily successful scheme to make everyone stupid by erasing all the words from every book (“Book ’Em, Dog Man”), and finish off with a sort of attempted alien invasion evocatively titled “Weenie Wars: The Franks Awaken.” In each, Dog Man squares off against baddies (including superinventor/archnemesis Petey the cat) and saves the day with a clever notion. With occasional pauses for Flip-O-Rama featurettes, the tales are all framed in brightly colored sequential panels with hand-lettered dialogue (“How do you feel, old friend?” “Ruff!”) and narrative. The figures are studiously diverse, with police officers of both genders on view and George, the chief, and several other members of the supporting cast colored in various shades of brown. Pilkey closes as customary with drawing exercises, plus a promise that the canine crusader will be further unleashed in a sequel.

What a wag. (Graphic fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-58160-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Inspiration, shrink wrapped.

WHAT THE ROAD SAID

From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

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