Language issues aside, more a story outline than a finished work, but there’s something sweetly appealing about Farellas for...

FARELLAS, THE LEGEND OF A GIANT

Though easy on the eyes and fun to tap, this simple tale of a good giant who fights a bad one could really use both a better translation and a more developed storyline.

At the urging of a passing lad, a kindly Catalan giant known as Strong Farell, or Farellas, sets out to free Barcelona from a mean giant. Rather than leave peaceably, said meanie demands that Farellas “fight against me to kick me out of the city.” After a quick feast “to recover strenght [sic],” Farellas tosses his adversary up into the sky so that he “flew over the roofs of Barcelona and got lost far away the sea horizon,” then strolls home past cheering crowds. Taps on the brightly colored, multitextured cartoon collages trigger mild, pleasing interactions. Night changes to day, roosters crow, small animals pop out of hiding, and the smiling, flannel-shirted giant traverses woods and city streets. These and other animations play out as rather loud strains of background music sound and, at times, clash. The unnarrated text can be read in English, Spanish or the original print version’s Catalan.

Language issues aside, more a story outline than a finished work, but there’s something sweetly appealing about Farellas for all that. (jigsaw puzzle) (iPad storybook app. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 6, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Jordi Martín i Forns

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2013

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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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2005

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A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off.

TINY LITTLE ROCKET

This rocket hopes to take its readers on a birthday blast—but there may or may not be enough fuel.

Once a year, a one-seat rocket shoots out from Earth. Why? To reveal a special congratulatory banner for a once-a-year event. The second-person narration puts readers in the pilot’s seat and, through a (mostly) ballad-stanza rhyme scheme (abcb), sends them on a journey toward the sun, past meteors, and into the Kuiper belt. The final pages include additional information on how birthdays are measured against the Earth’s rotations around the sun. Collingridge aims for the stars with this title, and he mostly succeeds. The rhyme scheme flows smoothly, which will make listeners happy, but the illustrations (possibly a combination of paint with digital enhancements) may leave the viewers feeling a little cold. The pilot is seen only with a 1960s-style fishbowl helmet that completely obscures the face, gender, and race by reflecting the interior of the rocket ship. This may allow readers/listeners to picture themselves in the role, but it also may divest them of any emotional connection to the story. The last pages—the backside of a triple-gatefold spread—label the planets and include Pluto. While Pluto is correctly labeled as a dwarf planet, it’s an unusual choice to include it but not the other dwarfs: Ceres, Eris, etc. The illustration also neglects to include the asteroid belt or any of the solar system’s moons.

A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-18949-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: David Fickling/Phoenix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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