A magisterial rendition, with the digital bells and whistles kept firmly in service to the story.

THE PEDLAR LADY OF GUSHING CROSS

A stately animated version of a traditional wisdom tale better known as “The Pedlar of Swaffham,” or “The Treasure.”

Written in high-toned language—“The old woman was anything but lonely, for she had befriended her solitude almost as another, separate self”—and narrated at a deliberate pace over unobtrusive music and sound effects, the story takes a pedlar from her dusty home to a distant city, driven by a tantalizing dream. The dismissive comment of a city guard about a treasure dream of his own that describes the old lady’s home sends her back, where, beneath her own tree, she discovers a bubbling spring that transforms her sere yard into a lush oasis. The art is primarily done in neutral blue-gray tones (except at the end) with spare, precisely drawn details and naturally posed figures. As each page is a short animated loop, turning the Text Display off and the Auto Page Turn on converts the app into a close approximation of conventional video. Other options include voiceovers in Spanish or French, and also a self-record button. In place of distracting touch-activated details, random small changes are designed in that make each pass-through different, and on each new page individual letters of the text fetchingly cascade down, arrange themselves in order and then can be “dumped” to the edge by tilting the tablet.

A magisterial rendition, with the digital bells and whistles kept firmly in service to the story. (source note) (iPad storybook app. 7-11)

Pub Date: July 25, 2010

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Moving Tales, Inc.

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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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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More trampling in the vineyards of the Literary Classics section, with results that will tickle fancies high and low.

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DOG MAN AND CAT KID

From the Dog Man series , Vol. 4

Recasting Dog Man and his feline ward, Li’l Petey, as costumed superheroes, Pilkey looks East of Eden in this follow-up to Tale of Two Kitties (2017).

The Steinbeck novel’s Cain/Abel motif gets some play here, as Petey, “world’s evilest cat” and cloned Li’l Petey’s original, tries assiduously to tempt his angelic counterpart over to the dark side only to be met, ultimately at least, by Li’l Petey’s “Thou mayest.” (There are also occasional direct quotes from the novel.) But inner struggles between good and evil assume distinctly subordinate roles to riotous outer ones, as Petey repurposes robots built for a movie about the exploits of Dog Man—“the thinking man’s Rin Tin Tin”—while leading a general rush to the studio’s costume department for appropriate good guy/bad guy outfits in preparation for the climactic battle. During said battle and along the way Pilkey tucks in multiple Flip-O-Rama inserts as well as general gags. He lists no fewer than nine ways to ask “who cut the cheese?” and includes both punny chapter titles (“The Bark Knight Rises”) and nods to Hamilton and Mary Poppins. The cartoon art, neatly and brightly colored by Garibaldi, is both as easy to read as the snappy dialogue and properly endowed with outsized sound effects, figures displaying a range of skin colors, and glimpses of underwear (even on robots).

More trampling in the vineyards of the Literary Classics section, with results that will tickle fancies high and low. (drawing instructions) (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-93518-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

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