It's not a perfect story, and some will find the text ("The shadow at far is a giant / Bigger than the pines") too...

BEFORE GOODNIGHT

A child travels through a series of watercolor dreamscapes in a strikingly off-kilter stream-of-consciousness story.

Against a beautiful set of purple trees dwarfed by a great wall, a child begins a journey. It's unclear if it's a boy or girl; the child is always seen from behind, with straw-colored hair and black clothing. This land is populated by rabbits and birds but also “shadow hands,” and a gigantic border wall looms. If there's a story beyond the traditional hero's journey, it's not easy to find, as the app trades narrative for dream logic. Is the story a child's long, flowing dream or a metaphor? In a less visually arresting app, those questions would irk, but it's hard not to fall under the slow spell of this one, which sets a mood of both dread and wonder with gorgeous page transitions and memorable imagery, from bell lanterns to the detailed rainbow bricks of the giant, crumbling wall. The app is not easy to navigate. Readers may find themselves stabbing the screen in frustration until the page advances. But if that's a method to slow readers down and create a sense of entrapment, it works.

It's not a perfect story, and some will find the text ("The shadow at far is a giant / Bigger than the pines") too ephemeral, but the app sets a peculiar mood that is tough to shake.   (Requires iOS 6 and above.) (iPad storybook app. 6-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Harry's Collar

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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ROOM ON THE BROOM

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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A witty addition to the long-running series.

THE DEEP END

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 15

The Wimpy Kid hits the road.

The Heffley clan has been stuck living together in Gramma’s basement for two months, waiting for the family home to be repaired, and the constant togetherness has been getting on everybody’s nerves. Luckily Greg’s Uncle Gary has a camper waiting for someone to use it, and so the Heffleys set off on the open road looking for an adventurous vacation, hoping the changing scenery will bring a spark back to the family unit. The winding road leads the Heffleys to a sprawling RV park, a setting teeming with possibilities for Greg to get up to his usual shenanigans. Greg’s snarky asides and misadventures continue to entertain. At this point the Wimpy Kid books run like a well-oiled machine, paced perfectly with witty lines, smart gags, and charming cartoons. Kinney knows just where to put a joke, the precise moment to give a character shading, and exactly how to get the narrative rolling, spinning out the oddest plot developments. The appreciation Kinney has for these characters seeps through the novels, endearing the Heffleys to readers even through this title, the 15th installment in a franchise boasting spinoffs, movies, and merchandise. There may come a time when Greg and his family overstay their welcome, but thankfully that day still seems far off.

A witty addition to the long-running series. (Humor. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4868-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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