Strongly atmospheric art and story-centered design give this a leg up over more gamelike apps, but wait for an update with...

READ REVIEW

THE UNWANTED GUEST

            Uneven synchronization of animations and voiceovers mar this retelling of a Yiddish tale about an old man driven out of his house when Poverty takes up residence.

            Depicted as an emaciated, hairless, passive looking goblin, Poverty keeps growing until the man is crowded right out into the yard—but then shrinks and is in turn driven away when the man shakes off his despair and, with determined labor, repairs house and fortunes. Using sharp contrasts and neutral tones to create a sense of formality, the art on each page is a short animated loop featuring figures making restrained, deliberately paced movements. The text, as read in an even tone in the voiceover, is likewise formal (“He wandered the purlieus of town by day…” “Life bends and folds where and when you least expect it”), and in the cleverest interactive feature it cascades down randomly on each page to arrange itself in order. But it’s also too long, as on several pages the loop begins to repeat distractingly before the narration is finished. Menu options include readings in Spanish or French, a self-record capability and an auto-run setting that turns the app into something like a conventional video.

            Strongly atmospheric art and story-centered design give this a leg up over more gamelike apps, but wait for an update with better editing. (source note) (iPad storybook app. 7-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Moving Tales, Inc.

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

What a wag.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more