Beguiling (particularly for bedtimes), seamlessly designed and unusually feature-rich.

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ROM AND THE WHALE OF DREAMS

A tale of dreams lost and found, well-served by soft-voiced narration, gentle music and surreal illustrations in muted hues.

Young Rom’s visions of a whale with lion’s paws and butterfly wings are the first nighttime dreams for 1,000 years in the “gypsy” kingdom of Numia. His belief that the creature is real takes him on a quest that leads to a series of strange encounters—with, among others, winged elephants and people made of water and fire. At last Rom is able to return the whale, which has been trapped in his dream, to a kingdom sleepless and desperate since its disappearance. In return, the whale teaches his own folk how to dream again. The otherworldly atmosphere is artfully reinforced by tap-activated animations. These include lines of text that fade in and out of sight, drifting leaves, slow changes of expression or position, a picture that can be washed in pale colors with a fingertip, spotlight effects, and visual elements or entire illustrations that appear and vanish with repeated touches. Readers can not only opt for English, Spanish or Chinese versions of the tale and narration, but also a running translation into any of those languages at the bottom. Furthermore, on every screen an icon opens a trilingual list of relevant words or phrases that are voiced with a touch.

Beguiling (particularly for bedtimes), seamlessly designed and unusually feature-rich. (Requires iOS 6 and above.) (iPad storybook app. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: BelMontis Publishers Pte. Ltd.

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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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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