Too long, too slow, written in a prose idiom that is, at best, questionable. Ugh.




Cave boy Ug run off rather than go school. He get lost, get big sad, turn over new leaf when reunited with Mamug and Papug.

Written in “cave-speak prose,” according to the description in the App Store, that has clear links to stereotypical "Injun Talk" (“He really no be big chief,” observes the narrator. “What big fool be me!” Ug concurs ruefully), this plodding epic is read nearly in a monotone by the author. The story is minimal. The skin-clad lad rejects parental orders, invents the spear (though strangers with spears show up later on), recruits a saber-tooth tiger and other animals to start a short-lived school of his own and then loses track of where “hole sweet home” is. Nearly every one of the no fewer than 49 splashy (think Robert Andrew Parker) watercolor pictures has to pan, scroll or ricochet wildly over several screens before any text appears—which not only makes the pacing snailish even with the audio switched off, but prevents quick paging back or forth. Signaled by an intrusive flashing “Tap to explore!” icon, a few screens feature a draggable figure, a snatch of drumbeat-driven dance music or other touch-activated feature. An oddly shaped tab (perhaps an animal pelt?) at the top of every screen pulls down a thumbnail menu, though the images are so small and, in many cases, so similar to one another, it is no real aid to navigation.

Too long, too slow, written in a prose idiom that is, at best, questionable. Ugh. (iPad storybook app. 7-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2011


Page Count: -

Publisher: Ice Cream Fine Storybooks

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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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 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 nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure.


It’s not truffles but doubloons that tickle this porcine wayfarer’s fancy.

Funke and Meyer make another foray into chapter-book fare after Emma and the Blue Genie (2014). Here, mariner Stout Sam and deckhand Pip eke out a comfortable existence on Butterfly Island ferrying cargo to and fro. Life is good, but it takes an unexpected turn when a barrel washes ashore containing a pig with a skull-and-crossbones pendant around her neck. It soon becomes clear that this little piggy, dubbed Julie, has the ability to sniff out treasure—lots of it—in the sea. The duo is pleased with her skills, but pride goeth before the hog. Stout Sam hands out some baubles to the local children, and his largess attracts the unwanted attention of Barracuda Bill and his nasty minions. Now they’ve pignapped Julie, and it’s up to the intrepid sailors to save the porker and their own bacon. The succinct word count meets the needs of kids looking for early adventure fare. The tale is slight, bouncy, and amusing, though Julie is never the piratical buccaneer the book’s cover seems to suggest. Meanwhile, Meyer’s cheery watercolors are as comfortable diagramming the different parts of a pirate vessel as they are rendering the dread pirate captain himself.

A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure. (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37544-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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