Still—a marvelous visual, if not tactile, experience.

THE NUMBERLYS

A fanciful take on the invention of the alphabet, more a video than a full-featured app but through the roof for production values.

The setting seems right out of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and is depicted with the accomplished 3-D modeling and monochrome gray tones of Chris Van Allsburg’s pencil work. Goose-stepping hordes of small, peglike Numberlys stamp out lines of digits in a gargantuan factory amid huge shadows and gear wheels. One night, five vaguely dissatisfied workers stay behind and with mighty efforts hammer out an alphabet letter by letter that, when released the next morning, flies out into the world to introduce both words and color to the stunned masses. Readers can help them through a limited variety of touch-controlled trampoline, pinball and dexterity games. Aside from the games, there are no interactive elements in the visuals, but smoothly animated movements and scene changes aplenty keep the characters and plot tumbling along. Read, optionally, by a narrator with an exaggerated German accent, the sparse text appears on separate screens and runs to witty lines like “Now, what could the next letter…be?” Directional arrows at the bottom of each screen, plus a rotating main-menu index, allow rapid back-and-forth–ing. The art’s sophistication isn’t quite matched by the attention to technical detail, as toggling the melodramatic background music off also cuts out all of the nongame sound effects.

Still—a marvelous visual, if not tactile, experience. (iPad storybook app. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: MoonBot Studios

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

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JOHN PHILIP DUCK

Edward and his father work for the Peabody Hotel in Memphis since the Depression has brought hard times for so many. On weekends they return to their farm in the hills and it’s there Edward finds John Philip Duck, named for the composer whose marches Edward listens to on the radio. Edward has to look after the scrawny duckling during the week, so he risks the ire of the hotel manager by taking John Philip with him. The expected occurs when Mr. Shutt finds the duckling. The blustery manager makes Edward a deal. If Edward can train John Philip to swim in the hotel fountain all day (and lure in more customers), Edward and the duck can stay. After much hard work, John Philip learns to stay put and Edward becomes the first Duck Master at the hotel. This half-imagined story of the first of the famous Peabody Hotel ducks is one of Polacco’s most charming efforts to date. Her signature illustrations are a bit brighter and full of the music of the march. An excellent read aloud for older crowds, but the ever-so-slightly anthropomorphic ducks will come across best shared one-on-one. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-399-24262-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2004

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THE BOY WHO LOVED WORDS

A charmingly prolix tall tale of a boy so word-obsessed that he collects new words on slips of paper. They bulge from his pockets, float around his head and fill his world. Classmates nickname Selig “Wordsworth” and give him a word for his collection: “oddball.” The discovery that his purpose in life is to share his carefully chosen words with others leads to success and love. And, “if, one day, . . . the perfect word just seems to come to you . . . you’ll know that Selig is near.” Schotter’s words are enlivened by Potter’s distinctively naïve figures, all placed in settings in which words and labels are scattered about in a way that invites close inspection and promotes purposeful inquiry. It all adds up to an *exultant encounter, chockablock with tintinnabulating gusto (*see tantalizing glossary appended). A gift to precocious children and teachers as well. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 28, 2006

ISBN: 0-375-83601-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2006

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