Though visually pleasing, this app fails to provide children with an engaging story.




This imaginative portrayal of ancient animal figures does not realize its full potential.

Using high-quality photographs on a background of decorative and textured paper, this interactive story introduces nine ancient Chinese and Egyptian artifacts. The story and interactive elements prompt young children to imagine these creatures coming to life. “When Ibis wants to have fun, she hops up and down.” With a tap, the photograph of the ibis moves, extending its legs to jump up before sitting back down. This combination of realistic photography and interactive animation will help fuel young children’s imaginations as they prepare for museum visits. Each animal has written a letter to young readers. Hedgehog writes, “I was made in Egypt a very long time ago. I am made out of a special kind of clay a beautiful color of blue.” He further informs readers that he resides in the Brooklyn Museum. Unfortunately, the story that develops is stiff and lackluster. One by one, the animals gather together in a cumulative tale. “When Duck and Hedgehog take a ride on Horse’s cart, Ibis wants ride too.” A final page provides detailed information about each artifact, but it misses an easy opportunity by not providing hyperlinks to the specific pieces in the museum collections. This would have made reaching further reading easy for interested children and families. 

Though visually pleasing, this app fails to provide children with an engaging story. (iPad storybook app. 4-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2013


Page Count: -

Publisher: Kristin Harris

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2013

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.


From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 1

First volume of a planned three, this edited version of an ongoing online serial records a middle-school everykid’s triumphs and (more often) tribulations through the course of a school year. Largely through his own fault, mishaps seem to plague Greg at every turn, from the minor freak-outs of finding himself permanently seated in class between two pierced stoners and then being saddled with his mom for a substitute teacher, to being forced to wrestle in gym with a weird classmate who has invited him to view his “secret freckle.” Presented in a mix of legible “hand-lettered” text and lots of simple cartoon illustrations with the punch lines often in dialogue balloons, Greg’s escapades, unwavering self-interest and sardonic commentary are a hoot and a half—certain to elicit both gales of giggles and winces of sympathy (not to mention recognition) from young readers. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8109-9313-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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