It's likely young readers who pick up this well-made app will be learning about both Bollywood and red pandas for the first...

READ REVIEW

LALOO THE RED PANDA

The adventure of a lost, rare red panda cub trying to find his way home is expertly packed with Indian culture, energetic artwork and engaging characters.

Laloo, who looks more like a fox than a traditional, burly, black-and-white panda, loves bugs, to the puzzlement of those around him. One day, a poacher traps and takes Laloo, but the cub is able to escape. From there, Laloo tries to get back to his family and is aided by a famous dog actor named Scrilla and his friends. The journey is made entertaining by its settings: Laloo crashes the set of a Bollywood movie, runs through a market where the vendors are "selling silk scarves and spicy eggs in sizzling pans," and travels home on a decorated purple train. He also collects bugs he finds along the way; readers tap the bugs to add them to a collection. The text could be cleaner in terms of punctuation and grammar, but the story itself is fun, the narration is sprightly and Laloo's persistent worry that he doesn't fit in is certainly universal. But it's the presentation of life in India that makes the app most worthy of recommendation. The clean, beautifully colored artwork is vibrant and inviting. Laloo's world has lots of characters, perhaps too many for one story. Some barely get a page or two, leaving room for further tales of Laloo and his friends.

It's likely young readers who pick up this well-made app will be learning about both Bollywood and red pandas for the first time—and they will be glad they did. (iPad storybook app. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Laloo LLC

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2012

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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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ZATHURA

A trite, knock-off sequel to Jumanji (1981). The “Jumanji” box distracts Walter Budwing away from beating up on his little brother Danny, but it’s Danny who discovers the Zathura board inside—and in no time, Earth is far behind, a meteor has smashed through the roof, and a reptilian Zyborg pirate is crawling through the hole. Each throw of the dice brings an ominous new development, portrayed in grainy, penciled freeze frames featuring sculptured-looking figures in constricted, almost claustrophobic settings. The angles of view are, as always, wonderfully dramatic, but not only is much of the finer detail that contributed to Jumanji’s astonishing realism missing, the spectacular damage being done to the Budwings’ house as the game progresses is, by and large, only glimpsed around the picture edges. Naturally, having had his bacon repeatedly saved by his younger sibling’s quick thinking, once Walter falls through a black hole to a time preceding the game’s start, his attitude toward Danny undergoes a sudden, radical transformation. Van Allsburg’s imagination usually soars right along with his accomplished art—but here, both are just running in place. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2002

ISBN: 0-618-25396-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2002

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