The story of Morris Lessmore and his beloved books ends with an unexpected emotional punch, a satisfying, lovely finish for...

THE FANTASTIC FLYING BOOKS OF MR. MORRIS LESSMORE

A poignant, potent ode to books (the paper kind) that combines top-notch animation, just the right amount of interactivity and a tear-jerking story.

Based on a 15-minute animated short (which can be downloaded from iTunes via a link in the app's main menu), this pitch-perfect adaptation captures much of the nuance and emotion of the source material without trying too hard to capture every beat. Morris Lessmore, who appears to be modeled after silent film–era comics like Buster Keaton, is a writer whose obsession with the written word is evident by the precariously stacked books around him. After a storm flings him from his balcony and literally blows the words off the pages of all the town's tomes, Morris finds himself wandering until he spots a woman flying through the air, carried by bird-like books. An anthropomorphic version of "Humpty Dumpty" befriends Morris and leads him to a magical library, where he'll write his own story and care for the residents there. Though the app's text is all original (the short film features no dialogue or voice over, only music), it sparkles. In the library, "The tragedies needed to be cheered up and would visit with the comedies. The Encyclopedias, weary of facts would relax with the comic books and fictions. All in all, it was an agreeable jumble." Merely adapting the story well from the film might legitimately have been enough. But the interactive elements, including a playable piano, books that speak in distinct book quotes when touched and small games, don't feel at all tacked on; they enrich the experience without detracting from the main story or disrupting its flow.

The story of Morris Lessmore and his beloved books ends with an unexpected emotional punch, a satisfying, lovely finish for an altogether winning app. (iPad storybook app. 4-12)

Pub Date: May 26, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: MoonBot Studios

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

GHOSTS

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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