Lucky for app bargain hunters, this one’s got it all: a plucky heroine, a funny parrot, lots of treasure and more than...

ALIZAY, PIRATE GIRL

Alizay, the redheaded pirate preteen of the Bonny Clipper, is always up for a hunt for treasure, especially when it’s with her loving dad, Capt. Rubberfoot (his peg leg is a plunger).

When their ship is becalmed near a mysterious isle, she faces a series of challenges that include a “Frogger”-like river crossing, a music game and secrets that are revealed on a treasure map. Throughout, Alizay stays upbeat and brave, collecting four needles that will reveal the secret of the island. In the best way possible, little is left to chance in the app. Illustrations are richly detailed, with cartoonish animation blending seamlessly with scenes that change perspective when readers tilt the iPad. For younger readers who may not be able to solve all the game’s puzzles, there are “Easy,” “Medium” and “Hard” difficulty settings, and most tough spots can be skipped to continue progressing in the story. There’s not much dazzle in the writing, but the app is more like a clever game with a nice back story than a straight storybook narrative. There’s a lot to Alizay’s adventure, so much so that it wouldn’t have been unreasonable if the developers had broken it up into multiple pirate apps.

Lucky for app bargain hunters, this one’s got it all: a plucky heroine, a funny parrot, lots of treasure and more than enough material to stave off boredom at sea. (iPad storybook app. 4-10)

Pub Date: May 25, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: SlimCricket

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images.

THURGOOD

The life journey of the first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court and the incidents that formed him.

Thurgood Marshall grew up in segregated Baltimore, Maryland, with a family that encouraged him to stand for justice. Despite attending poor schools, he found a way to succeed. His father instilled in him a love of the law and encouraged him to argue like a lawyer during dinner conversations. His success in college meant he could go to law school, but the University of Maryland did not accept African American students. Instead, Marshall went to historically black Howard University, where he was mentored by civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall’s first major legal case was against the law school that denied him a place, and his success brought him to the attention of the NAACP and ultimately led to his work on the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education, which itself led to his appointment to the Supreme Court. This lively narrative serves as an introduction to the life of one of the country’s important civil rights figures. Important facts in Marshall’s life are effectively highlighted in an almost staccato fashion. The bold watercolor-and-collage illustrations, beginning with an enticing cover, capture and enhance the strong tone set by the words.

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images. (author’s note, photos) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6533-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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