A charming tale, but not seaworthy enough to bear the heaping cargo of cultural information it’s plainly designed to carry.

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THE TURTLE IS GETTING MARRIED

An original, folkloric tale set in Taiwan and positively festooned with maps, games and nonfiction side articles—but much in need of better translation and proofreading.

Li pairs two turtles—one belonging to a clan from Toucheng that “held a peaceful and prosperous life by fishing,” the other from the port of Keelung, which specializes in “delivering various goods on the sea”—who fall in love “at the very first sight” and are wed with much rejoicing. Zheng illustrates the speedy romance with childlike, pink-dominant assemblages of waxy crayon strokes, large pieces of cut paper and carved vegetable stamps. Value-added features include a labeled map (the same map) of the local coastline that spins friskily into view on every screen with the touch of a corner, two simple interactive games and four multiscreen side essays with photos. These last survey the Taiwanese fishing industry (whose workers “attract small fishes like sardines by exploiting their phototaxis nature”), wedding legends and the important functions of nonprofit organizations in Taiwanese society. There is an option for audio narration, but only for the story, and the narrator’s script sometimes varies slightly from the visible text. An icon on each screen allows readers to switch among English, Japanese and Chinese versions. If not always fluid, the English translation is frequently laughable: “A day at sea equals three days without defecation,” according to one folk saying.

A charming tale, but not seaworthy enough to bear the heaping cargo of cultural information it’s plainly designed to carry. (strip index) (iPad storybook/informational app. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 17, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Kai-feng Kama Bookstore

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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More trampling in the vineyards of the Literary Classics section, with results that will tickle fancies high and low.

DOG MAN AND CAT KID

From the Dog Man series , Vol. 4

Recasting Dog Man and his feline ward, Li’l Petey, as costumed superheroes, Pilkey looks East of Eden in this follow-up to Tale of Two Kitties (2017).

The Steinbeck novel’s Cain/Abel motif gets some play here, as Petey, “world’s evilest cat” and cloned Li’l Petey’s original, tries assiduously to tempt his angelic counterpart over to the dark side only to be met, ultimately at least, by Li’l Petey’s “Thou mayest.” (There are also occasional direct quotes from the novel.) But inner struggles between good and evil assume distinctly subordinate roles to riotous outer ones, as Petey repurposes robots built for a movie about the exploits of Dog Man—“the thinking man’s Rin Tin Tin”—while leading a general rush to the studio’s costume department for appropriate good guy/bad guy outfits in preparation for the climactic battle. During said battle and along the way Pilkey tucks in multiple Flip-O-Rama inserts as well as general gags. He lists no fewer than nine ways to ask “who cut the cheese?” and includes both punny chapter titles (“The Bark Knight Rises”) and nods to Hamilton and Mary Poppins. The cartoon art, neatly and brightly colored by Garibaldi, is both as easy to read as the snappy dialogue and properly endowed with outsized sound effects, figures displaying a range of skin colors, and glimpses of underwear (even on robots).

More trampling in the vineyards of the Literary Classics section, with results that will tickle fancies high and low. (drawing instructions) (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-93518-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

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What a wag.

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DOG MAN

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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