A gratifying introduction to one of the most notable pieces of religious literature. (iPad storybook app. 5-10)



John Bunyan’s Christian allegory gets light-handed but soulful treatment.

This animated app relays Bunyan’s story in a somewhat breathless fashion, evidently to underscore the import of the proceedings. But it wasn’t necessary, for though this is a considerably pared-down version of the original, it retains its propulsive nature in a color-saturated, near–3-D format. Here is Christian, carrying his heavy load; no mention of sin is made, so the story can be read as a simple morality play, though the episode with the cross, staying on the narrow path and the quest for the City of Zion belie its Christian roots. Still, the overarching themes are the importance of doing the right thing, behaving with grace and learning how to navigate a world that is a minefield of trouble and temptation. All the singular characters are present: Christian’s traveling companions Faithful and Hopeful; Formalist and Hypocrisy; the Worldly Wiseman and the Evangelist; Discretion, Prudence, Piety and Charity. So too the great places of Vainglory, the Valley of Humiliation and the Valley of the Shadow of Death. The narrative energy and constant happenings keep users thoroughly engaged, while the characters, as drawn for the screen, have strong personalities, and the landscapes have good visual appeal.

A gratifying introduction to one of the most notable pieces of religious literature. (iPad storybook app. 5-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2012


Page Count: -

Publisher: Nation9

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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Each time the witch loses something in the windy weather, she and her cat are introduced to a new friend who loves flying on her broom. The fluid rhyming and smooth rhythm work together with one repetitive plot element focusing young attention spans until the plot quickens. (“Is there room on the broom for a blank such as me?”) When the witch’s broom breaks, she is thrown in to danger and the plot flies to the finish. Her friends—cat, dog, frog, and bird—are not likely to scare the dragon who plans on eating the witch, but together they form a formidable, gooey, scary-sounding monster. The use of full-page or even page-and-a-half spreads for many of the illustrations will ensure its successful use in story times as well as individual readings. The wart-nosed witch and her passengers make magic that is sure to please. Effective use of brilliant colors set against well-conceived backgrounds detail the story without need for text—but with it, the story—and the broom—take off. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8037-2557-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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