RITA THE LIZARD

Bursting with life in its clever visuals and antic sense of play, an abundance of activity is on offer in this story about a fun-loving red lizard.

Rita, the titular flat, red lizard, is first seen lounging on the beach as a paper sailboat passes by. "Rita thinks she is a chameleon just like her Uncle William," but her bright, unchanging color and strange habits (like snoring while she sleeps on a zebra) don't exactly make her blend into the background. The identity crisis is solved with the help of her animal friends, and the whole affair concludes with a festive dance party as Rita celebrates who she really is. The message is carefully inserted into dense layers of gorgeously textured art and buoyed by plenty of surrealist touches. A giraffe wears boots; a duck flies by, calmly embedded within a hot-air balloon; and a photo on a wall suddenly sprouts a long, stringy mustache. The app's animations and extra features are beautifully presented and fit right in with the rest of the story. If that weren't enough, each page has an optional countdown that tells readers exactly how many interactive goodies are available. Activate all of them and an award notification pops up that, remarkably, doesn't break up the flow of the story. Rita's realization that being a lizard is great is carried effortlessly by all the terrific visual asides along the way. (iPad storybook app. 3-10)

 

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Irene Blasco Grau

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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Dizzyingly silly.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TYRANNICAL RETALIATION OF THE TURBO TOILET 2000

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 11

The famous superhero returns to fight another villain with all the trademark wit and humor the series is known for.

Despite the title, Captain Underpants is bizarrely absent from most of this adventure. His school-age companions, George and Harold, maintain most of the spotlight. The creative chums fool around with time travel and several wacky inventions before coming upon the evil Turbo Toilet 2000, making its return for vengeance after sitting out a few of the previous books. When the good Captain shows up to save the day, he brings with him dynamic action and wordplay that meet the series’ standards. The Captain Underpants saga maintains its charm even into this, the 11th volume. The epic is filled to the brim with sight gags, toilet humor, flip-o-ramas and anarchic glee. Holding all this nonsense together is the author’s good-natured sense of harmless fun. The humor is never gross or over-the-top, just loud and innocuous. Adults may roll their eyes here and there, but youngsters will eat this up just as quickly as they devoured every other Underpants episode.

Dizzyingly silly. (Humor. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-50490-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

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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