Readers may not be so sanguine in the wake of this flashy but superficial tour.

READ REVIEW

MY MAGIC KITE

A TRIP IN THE USA

From the Mom, It's Me! series

Interactive features solidly trump art, writing and factual accuracy in this quick but far from slick aerial travelogue.

Having selected a generic Caucasian boy’s or girl’s body and (optionally) personalized it with a portrait photo, readers are invited to grab hold of a magic kite and fly over eight U.S. cities (viewable in sequence or selected from a map). In keeping with the DIY characterization, readers can even add self-recorded comments to the (also optional) audio narrative. The leaden verse is nothing to write home about: “They eat Jambalayas here and have the famous Mardi Gras parade. / But you’ll have to be a bit older to watch it, I’m afraid.” Each cartoon flyover scene can be zoomed past the point of pixilation and features both a jumble of recognizable landmarks and several touch-activated effects. President Obama introduces himself in front of the White House, a boy—inexplicably—dances atop the Statue of Liberty and an outsized orca leaps in Orlando. After being blithely misinformed that rockets take off into space from Houston, Space Needle elevators fall faster than raindrops and that sharks prevented any escape from Alcatraz, the traveler ends his or her journey back “Home” (a draggable icon on the map) eager for further outings.

Readers may not be so sanguine in the wake of this flashy but superficial tour. (iPad informational app. 6-9)

Pub Date: May 6, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: My Digital Photo Story

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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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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The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE PEOPLE

A monohued tally of positive character traits.

Purple is a “magic color,” affirm the authors (both actors, though Hart’s name recognition is nowhere near the level of Bell’s), and “purple people” are the sort who ask questions, laugh wholeheartedly, work hard, freely voice feelings and opinions, help those who might “lose” their own voices in the face of unkindness, and, in sum, can “JUST BE (the real) YOU.” Unlike the obsessive protagonist of Victoria Kann’s Pinkalicious franchise, being a purple person has “nothing to do with what you look like”—a point that Wiseman underscores with scenes of exuberantly posed cartoon figures (including versions of the authors) in casual North American attire but sporting a wide range of ages, skin hues, and body types. A crowded playground at the close (no social distancing here) displays all this wholesome behavior in action. Plenty of purple highlights, plus a plethora of broad smiles and wide-open mouths, crank up the visual energy—and if the earnest overall tone doesn’t snag the attention of young audiences, a grossly literal view of the young narrator and a grandparent “snot-out-our-nose laughing” should do the trick. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.4-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22.2% of actual size.)

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12196-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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