An adequate rendition for younger audiences, though only faintly acknowledging the original’s satire and sentiment.

THE ADVENTURES OF DON QUIXOTE

Quixote really takes a beating in this full-featured, if highly abbreviated, version of the classic tale.

Read expressively in English or Spanish (there are self-record and silent options too) as knightly music plays in the background, the rhymed tale props the would-be paladin before a mirror next to a large pile of small pieces of armor (all of which can be dragged into place on his body before readers choose to continue). It propels him out to sigh over the never-named “plain girl next door” before getting clobbered by a gang of muleteers, a windmill, a pair of armed peasants and a servant girl’s “jealous and crazed” boyfriend in turn. The tale cuts off abruptly with a concluding screen and the closing note that “his mare took him home—and all ended well.” Along with dressing the Don, readers can mix ingredients for the restorative “Balsam of Fierabrás,” assemble a jumbled scene, collect small concealed shields, and, on each screen, search out touch-activated sound effects, miraculous transformations (a particularly appropriate feature for this story) and animations. An inconspicuous menu bar allows skipping among scenes, though the tiny, unnumbered thumbnail images are, confusingly, on an endless loop. Both Calero’s comical caricatures and the incidental graphics are richly detailed and elaborately designed.

An adequate rendition for younger audiences, though only faintly acknowledging the original’s satire and sentiment. (iPad storybook app. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 20, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Media Minds

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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What a wag.

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DOG MAN

From the Dog Man series , Vol. 1

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 Man comics 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: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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