A stellar—indeed, archival—addition to any library.

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ALICEWINKS

ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND 150TH ANNIVERSARY ANIMATED EDITION

This sumptuous iBook presents a straightforward telling of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, accompanied by artwork that will send readers down the rabbit hole of delight.

It has been 150 years since Carroll trooped Alice before readers. In that time, there have been illustrations aplenty to go with the text, though arguably, John Tenniel caught the greatest fancy. There’s no Tenniel here, but a parade of gently animated artwork that delivers one pleasure after another. They appear in the form of short videos that convey the story read aloud, and in so many styles readers may wonder if the book couldn’t accommodate something by, say, Warhol, too. It is as though Carroll gave a great, inclusive, Whitman-esque hug to interpretation. Millicent Sowerby gets spooky; Arthur Rackham is all caricature and cream; Margaret Tarrant shimmers on the surface, like sunlight on a lake; Mabel Lucie Attwell is as Deco as a Tiffany lamp; Alice Woodward is mischievous; Gwynedd M. Hudson has the delicacy of a Fabergé egg; George Soper draws dreamscapes. Some of the animations of the old artwork can be a bit creepy—as the White Rabbit appears on the scene, for instance, he hops through four distinct illustrations, changing style with each—but then, so is the story. Chapter by chapter, videos precede sequences of still plates, which themselves precede the printed text. The nice, rich rumble of the narrator is counterpointed with voices of a young girl and strange creatures, all well-characterized.

A stellar—indeed, archival—addition to any library. (Enhanced e-book/fantasy. 6 & up)

Pub Date: April 18, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Walrus & Carpenter Productions LLC

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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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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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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