Perhaps it’s not for everyone, but there’s a lot to admire. For adults and kids who find it funny, it will be a total gas.

READ REVIEW

THE POPPIN PRINCESS

An unusual princess from a faraway land breaks barriers (and wind) in a gorgeously illustrated and humorous fairy tale.

In a tiny, unnamed kingdom, Prince Archibald and his pushy parents seek a bride. The many competing princesses—each with her own quirk—are taken out of contention when the queen puts them through a series of challenges, including one designed to see how they handle cauliflower and broccoli. Here, things take a left turn that will either delight or annoy readers, depending on their tolerance for fart humor. Then Lou, the “Princess of the Wind” arrives. She has terrible table manners, makes silly faces and, most importantly, captures Archibald’s heart. And when she’s tested for flatulence, the silly ending isn’t too difficult to guess: She makes beautiful music with her talented digestive system, securing the throne. This could have been a terrible, tasteless app, but the illustrations are so lovely, the narration and text so poker-faced and the extra features so clever that it works. Offered in French or English, the story is just the right length, and its visuals, set against a backdrop of creased, taped-up papers, allow the story to get away with a lot.

Perhaps it’s not for everyone, but there’s a lot to admire. For adults and kids who find it funny, it will be a total gas. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Audois & Alleuil Editions

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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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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