MATISYAHU'S "HAPPY HANUKKAH" JAM-ALONG

Another interactive music app from the creators of Mibblio (2013)—this one a single song (with a holiday theme) rather than a “freemium” platform for in-app purchases.

As the musician Matisyahu sings an original, reggae-style Hanukkah song with infectious brio, listeners can use buttons, tiles and icons running along three sides of each screen to add or subtract instrument tracks as well as jam along with keyboards, strings and percussion. Meanwhile, brightly colored cartoon scenes of children lighting menorah candles, riding a giant dreidel, dancing happily or posing in historical costume pass by in a slideshow that, with a flick of two fingers, can be expanded to a full-screen view. The lyrics, visible on each screen, mix specific references (“Son of King David! / Maccabee till the end of time!”) with general uplift: “Happy Hanukkah! / I wanna give a gift to you! / Light up the nights, / My love shines through.” The song and pictures can be paused but not replayed without starting over. An upbeat, well-designed outing with options aplenty to engage budding musicians. Eminently danceable, too. (Requires iPad 2 and above.) (iPad holiday app. 6-9)

 

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Mibblio, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2013

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DOG MAN

From the Dog Man series , Vol. 1

What a wag.

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What do you get from sewing the head of a smart dog onto the body of a tough police officer? A new superhero from the incorrigible creator of Captain Underpants.

Finding a stack of old Dog Mancomics that got them in trouble back in first grade, George and Harold decide to craft a set of new(ish) adventures with (more or less) improved art and spelling. These begin with an origin tale (“A Hero Is Unleashed”), go on to a fiendish attempt to replace the chief of police with a “Robo Chief” and then a temporarily successful scheme to make everyone stupid by erasing all the words from every book (“Book ’Em, Dog Man”), and finish off with a sort of attempted alien invasion evocatively titled “Weenie Wars: The Franks Awaken.” In each, Dog Man squares off against baddies (including superinventor/archnemesis Petey the cat) and saves the day with a clever notion. With occasional pauses for Flip-O-Rama featurettes, the tales are all framed in brightly colored sequential panels with hand-lettered dialogue (“How do you feel, old friend?” “Ruff!”) and narrative. The figures are studiously diverse, with police officers of both genders on view and George, the chief, and several other members of the supporting cast colored in various shades of brown. Pilkey closes as customary with drawing exercises, plus a promise that the canine crusader will be further unleashed in a sequel.

What a wag. (Graphic fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-58160-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

DIARY OF A SPIDER

The wriggly narrator of Diary of a Worm (2003) puts in occasional appearances, but it’s his arachnid buddy who takes center stage here, with terse, tongue-in-cheek comments on his likes (his close friend Fly, Charlotte’s Web), his dislikes (vacuums, people with big feet), nervous encounters with a huge Daddy Longlegs, his extended family—which includes a Grandpa more than willing to share hard-won wisdom (The secret to a long, happy life: “Never fall asleep in a shoe.”)—and mishaps both at spider school and on the human playground. Bliss endows his garden-dwellers with faces and the odd hat or other accessory, and creates cozy webs or burrows colorfully decorated with corks, scraps, plastic toys and other human detritus. Spider closes with the notion that we could all get along, “just like me and Fly,” if we but got to know one another. Once again, brilliantly hilarious. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-000153-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2005

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