A little sketchy of storyline, but well-endowed with digital widgetry and bursts (as it were) of alimentary humor.

THE STOLEN STARS

A “choose your own”–style quest tale, with selectable options aplenty for protagonist and magical gear as well as plot.

The sudden disappearance of the green stars that bring happy dreams to the people of Leuman prompts the dispatch of a young hero—a boy named Yalot, a girl named Nidia or (with the audio switched off) a child with any reader-entered name—to, ultimately, a creepy castle basement. Along the way, questers are prompted to select several potions or other helpful items (which are smoothly integrated into later incidents), to choose directions at a fork in the road and to perform various other actions before being allowed to go on. The loudly colored cartoon pictures feature an unusually diverse array of touch-activated features, from falling stars, light bulbs and boulders that all become poppable bubbles to Leuman’s hilariously flatulent king and a spectacular cascade of bones rattling down a flight of stairs. The text and narration are available in English (with a British accent) or Spanish, and a thumbnail index allows readers to change options in midcourse if so moved.

A little sketchy of storyline, but well-endowed with digital widgetry and bursts (as it were) of alimentary humor. (iPad storybook app. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: ALPIXEL

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE

Like an ocean-going “Lion and the Mouse,” a humpback whale and a snail “with an itchy foot” help each other out in this cheery travelogue. Responding to a plaintive “Ride wanted around the world,” scrawled in slime on a coastal rock, whale picks up snail, then sails off to visit waters tropical and polar, stormy and serene before inadvertently beaching himself. Off hustles the snail, to spur a nearby community to action with another slimy message: “SAVE THE WHALE.” Donaldson’s rhyme, though not cumulative, sounds like “The house that Jack built”—“This is the tide coming into the bay, / And these are the villagers shouting, ‘HOORAY!’ / As the whale and the snail travel safely away. . . .” Looking in turn hopeful, delighted, anxious, awed, and determined, Scheffler’s snail, though tiny next to her gargantuan companion, steals the show in each picturesque seascape—and upon returning home, provides so enticing an account of her adventures that her fellow mollusks all climb on board the whale’s tail for a repeat voyage. Young readers will clamor to ride along. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8037-2922-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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