Not too spooky for bedtime yet with distinct chiller-diller potential, this folk tale marries tradition and modernity with...

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THE STORY OF KALKALILH

From the Bramble Berry Tales series

Two children have trouble staying in bed until their Mooshum, their grandfather, tells them a Coast Salish cautionary tale featuring a “scary old woman who eats the toes of children as if they were grapes!”

Dropped off by their dad at the mountain cabin of Mooshum and Kookum, Thomas and his little sister Lily have trouble settling down that night—until they hear how, long ago, a group of similarly sleepless children followed the delicious scent of candied salmon into the woods and were seized by the terrifying Kalkalilh. Both the children, who look like polished wooden dolls with black, button eyes, and the skulls that float about the hunched-over old woman’s cluttered hut wriggle and giggle when touched in the tilt-sensitive illustrations. The overall flow isn’t as smooth as it might be, as each picture takes a moment to load and the text only appears a few lines at a time. Still, options include autoplay or manual advance, a multivoiced audio and a choice of four languages, including Squamish. Furthermore, a main menu with thumbnails is available any time, and tapping the occasional red word in the narrative opens a box with the Squamish equivalent and a culture-specific comment or observation. Ultimately, the children in the core tale push their captor into her own fire, whereupon she turns into a cloud of mosquitoes and pursues them through the woods into the arms of their parents. In the framing story, Thomas and Lily rise in the morning to find real candied salmon and opposite-of-scary Kookum waiting in the cozy kitchen.

Not too spooky for bedtime yet with distinct chiller-diller potential, this folk tale marries tradition and modernity with great style. (iPad folk-tale app. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Loud Crow Interactive

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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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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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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