THE WEREWOLF FAMILY

Normally the Werewolf family—Mr., Mrs., and young Harry and Mary—look properly Edwardian. But there's a full moon on the night of their family reunion, and we see the prim, stiff family growing fangs, claws, and paw hair before our eyes. "Whose side of the family are they on?" "Not mine," remark the other relatives as the Werewolfs arrive at the party, dispense snakes and spiders to the babies, select Aunt Charlotte's and Uncle Igo's pets for their dinner, and finally, in the basement rec room ("It's been in the family for centuries"), secure all their kin in racks, chains, and hanging manacles before taking off for home. The next day, posed with tea, books, hoop, and flowers in their garden, the Werewolf family is again the picture of decorum. If you can accept a sort of Rocky Horror Show equivalent for the picture-book set, Gantos and Rubel are the pair to give it punch. They've got more of their hearts in this one than in some of their previous, sweeter items. And kids in the Halloween mood will pounce on this where paler spooks will leave them cold.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 1980

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1980

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I LOVE YOU THROUGH AND THROUGH

Based on the 2005 board book, this Scholastic "Touch and Tilt" app retains the print version's sweetness and soothing tone. Told in simple, declarative rhymes ("I love your fingers / and toes / your ears / and nose"), the story is illustrated by images of a young boy and his adored teddy bear in various situations and emotional states. Adding to the mix, the iPad version features brief animations and sound on each page—one for the boy and one for the teddy bear when each are tapped. There are also animations activated by tilting the iPad clockwise and counter-clockwise, typically making the duo sway to and fro. The tilting animations sometimes get in the way of the touch animations, creating a delayed-reaction effect that may cause some frustration for its target toddler audience. Not every animated illustration works, stylistically; it's doubtful any fans of the book were clamoring to see the gentle bear do a headspin, for instance. But the app features calm narration, tinkling background music and illustrations so soft and fluffy they could be confused for high-thread-count bedding. Even the two-touch/two-tilt animations per page are reassuringly consistent. It's practically a sleeping aid in story app form. That's no knock; it's just fine for parents of restless readers at bedtime. (iPad storybook app. 18 mo.-5)

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2011

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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