Fantasy readers who love to explore will have days or weeks of entrancing material to obsess over.



A twisty app with a choose-your-own-adventure–style conceit surprises as a fully realized, memorable fantasy novel.

Nine-year-old Roland Bartholomew Dexter III lives in a home that’s part barbershop, part jail. His clothes, his bedding and even his food are made of hair, a circumstance his loving, fearful parents have never adequately explained. As Roland begins to explore his origins, he learns that his dreams, which vividly show what would have happened if he’d made other decisions during the day, may be the key to freedom for his whole family. The many short pages of the app make up a gigantic grid; the endless strands of Roland’s hair weave through it, and at any time, readers can view the map to “see” where they are in the story. Readers make choices by navigating one way or the other, and they can use the map to revisit pages. When a choice is made, pages that no longer apply are blacked out, a nod to one of the story’s themes: the destructiveness of censorship. It seems gimmicky at first, but the writing is wise and witty, even Snicket-y. Roland’s choices in the story are limited and sometimes lead to dead ends, but the story overall is clever enough to sustain any backtracking. By its final sections, when stakes are highest, the way the app balances an engaging interactive experience with a deep narrative becomes truly impressive.

Fantasy readers who love to explore will have days or weeks of entrancing material to obsess over. (Requires iPad 2 and above.) (iPad fantasy app. 9-14)

Pub Date: May 4, 2014


Page Count: -

Publisher: Darned Sock Productions

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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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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An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in...

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From the New Kid series , Vol. 1

Jordan Banks takes readers down the rabbit hole and into his mostly white prep school in this heartbreakingly accurate middle-grade tale of race, class, microaggressions, and the quest for self-identity.

He may be the new kid, but as an African-American boy from Washington Heights, that stigma entails so much more than getting lost on the way to homeroom. Riverdale Academy Day School, located at the opposite end of Manhattan, is a world away, and Jordan finds himself a stranger in a foreign land, where pink clothing is called salmon, white administrators mistake a veteran African-American teacher for the football coach, and white classmates ape African-American Vernacular English to make themselves sound cool. Jordan’s a gifted artist, and his drawings blend with the narrative to give readers a full sense of his two worlds and his methods of coping with existing in between. Craft skillfully employs the graphic-novel format to its full advantage, giving his readers a delightful and authentic cast of characters who, along with New York itself, pop off the page with vibrancy and nuance. Shrinking Jordan to ant-sized proportions upon his entering the school cafeteria, for instance, transforms the lunchroom into a grotesque Wonderland in which his lack of social standing becomes visually arresting and viscerally uncomfortable.

An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in America. (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-269120-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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