Fix that, and the developers will have an app worthy of repeat visits.



Younger video gamers will feel right at home in this abridged rendition’s elaborately animated environment.

On seven multilayered tableaux designed to open and unfold as spreads of a digital pop-up book, Gulliver and the Lulliputians meet and bond (without the original classic’s urinating-on-the-fire scene, alas). After Gulliver drives off the invading “Blefuscuan” fleet [sic: Swift referred to them as “Blefuscudians”], they bid one another adieu. Rounded and moving like a jointed puppet to create a 3D effect, Gulliver towers over little figures and buildings rendered as 2D paper cutouts or pop-up assemblages. The audio can’t be switched off, but readers can choose an English or Spanish track, to see the text or not and also to have the tale presented in either manual mode or an only somewhat less interactive autoplay. Whatever the chosen options, each scene offers a mix of dramatic manual and automatic panning, zooming, swiveling and dissolves, along with question marks and swirls of stars that cue with a tap such “interesting events” as thrown ropes, sudden zooms, exclamations and even, on one spread, a guessing game. This rich array of inventive visual and sonic effects compensate for a narrative reduced to lines like “Lilliput citizens got surprised when they saw huge Gulliver” and spoken and print texts that don’t always match exactly. A far more serious flaw is the unfortunate resemblance the hunched-over, slant-eyed, bucktoothed Lilliputian soldiers bear to the worst kind of anti-Asian propaganda.

Fix that, and the developers will have an app worthy of repeat visits. (iPad storybook/game app. 6-9)

Pub Date: July 15, 2011


Page Count: -

Publisher: Digital Aria

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless.


A monohued tally of positive character traits.

Purple is a “magic color,” affirm the authors (both actors, though Hart’s name recognition is nowhere near the level of Bell’s), and “purple people” are the sort who ask questions, laugh wholeheartedly, work hard, freely voice feelings and opinions, help those who might “lose” their own voices in the face of unkindness, and, in sum, can “JUST BE (the real) YOU.” Unlike the obsessive protagonist of Victoria Kann’s Pinkalicious franchise, being a purple person has “nothing to do with what you look like”—a point that Wiseman underscores with scenes of exuberantly posed cartoon figures (including versions of the authors) in casual North American attire but sporting a wide range of ages, skin hues, and body types. A crowded playground at the close (no social distancing here) displays all this wholesome behavior in action. Plenty of purple highlights, plus a plethora of broad smiles and wide-open mouths, crank up the visual energy—and if the earnest overall tone doesn’t snag the attention of young audiences, a grossly literal view of the young narrator and a grandparent “snot-out-our-nose laughing” should do the trick. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.4-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22.2% of actual size.)

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12196-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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What a wag.

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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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