Cabby could use a little less catnip and lot more refining. (iPad storybook app. 6-10)

CABBY CAT & THE MISSING CELLO

After leaving his cello in the trunk of a cab, a world-renowned musician enlists help to recover his prized instrument.

This scattered storybook app has plenty of character and a few nice technological twists, but it’s so weighed down with peripheral stimuli and superfluous content that getting through it is downright laborious. Mo-Mo Ya, a pig, leaves his cello in the trunk of Cabby Cat’s taxi. A band of street musicians, the Hound Dogs, covets the million-dollar instrument and steals it out of the cab. Ya and his entourage track the thieves down, forgive everything and then immediately form a band and play a two-hour concert. The story is allegedly based on true events, but the narrative has so many gaps, it’s not easily swallowed. On the plus side, the 3-D rotation and zooming add a unique flair, and the rendition of Elgar’s Cello Concerto is fabulous. Several New York landmarks are highlighted with brief, pop-up history lessons, and the personality of the Big Apple shines throughout. Certain tasks, several of which are inane (a color-identification game at Ya’s hotel check-in desk, for instance), must be performed before an arrow appears to advance to the next page. At times the dreadful, rhymed text doesn’t match narration, and sentences that are split over page turns often require backtracking to determine context. The app does not work on first-generation iPads.

Cabby could use a little less catnip and lot more refining. (iPad storybook app. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 28, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: 2Dads in Brooklyn

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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ROOM ON THE BROOM

Each time the witch loses something in the windy weather, she and her cat are introduced to a new friend who loves flying on her broom. The fluid rhyming and smooth rhythm work together with one repetitive plot element focusing young attention spans until the plot quickens. (“Is there room on the broom for a blank such as me?”) When the witch’s broom breaks, she is thrown in to danger and the plot flies to the finish. Her friends—cat, dog, frog, and bird—are not likely to scare the dragon who plans on eating the witch, but together they form a formidable, gooey, scary-sounding monster. The use of full-page or even page-and-a-half spreads for many of the illustrations will ensure its successful use in story times as well as individual readings. The wart-nosed witch and her passengers make magic that is sure to please. Effective use of brilliant colors set against well-conceived backgrounds detail the story without need for text—but with it, the story—and the broom—take off. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8037-2557-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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

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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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