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

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

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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What a wag.

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DOG MAN

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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