This spectacular synthesis of elements creates magic on the iPad. Parents and kids won’t want to tear themselves away.



A melodious music app combines artistic creativity with top-notch execution.

This superb app offers three songs plus a musical "play space" that all feature gorgeous, detailed illustrations, high-quality music and sound effects, and first-class animations. “London Bridge” and “Old MacDonald” are voiced in unaffected, sweet kids' voices, while "Evening Song" is sung mellifluously by an adult. The creators clearly paid attention to detail in all of the elements, with stupendous results. In “Old MacDonald,” the scenery and animations change to reflect the season, which is controlled by viewers by turning a wheel. The “London Bridge” scene is reminiscent of a Rube Goldberg contraption, with wacky details abounding. “Evening Song” has a quieter feel, but there is plenty to discover and animate. The Studio play space (a hollow tree) is populated with an array of sounds, like frogs singing, knitting needles clacking and spiders scuttling, all of which can be set to three background rhythms, while Fox dances center stage. There is so much creativity here that it can’t even fit onto the screen—when viewers scroll from side to side, they discover even more treasures. The only minor quibble is that the sound effects sometimes compete slightly with the music, particularly in the quieter "Evening Song."

This spectacular synthesis of elements creates magic on the iPad. Parents and kids won’t want to tear themselves away. (iPad music app. 3-10)

Pub Date: March 15, 2012


Page Count: -

Publisher: Shape Minds and Moving Images GmbH

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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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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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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