CLARA BUTTON AND THE MAGICAL HAT DAY

What begins as a simple story about a girl trying to restore her grandmother's torn hat becomes an unexpectedly detailed look at fashion treasures from a famous British museum.

Clara Button, who wears colorful buttons that change with a tap, loves to design hats as much as her late grandmother, who was a milliner, did. When one of her grandmother's hats is torn by a bratty brother, Clara is distraught. But amid the collections at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, she gets help for her hat and finds many other lovely objects from its extensive collections. The story is meticulously illustrated, with so much detail that many subtle touches (a child waving in a background photo, for instance) are nearly lost, even on an iPad's high-resolution screen. While interactive elements and animations are present throughout—readers can touch the screen at any time to get a splash of multicolored buttons—they don't distract from Clara's quest or what she finds at the V&A. The real-world art objects, expertly woven into Clara's visit, end up filling an exquisite final page. The app's cultural pedigree shouldn't be surprising, as de la Haye is a dress historian and former curator at the V&A. The rest of the app's features, from its no-nonsense narration to its musical accompaniment, are top-notch. Not every reader will share Clara's strong affinity for fashion, but there's no denying the beauty of the showcased. (iPad storybook app. 4-12) 

 

Pub Date: July 26, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: MAPP Editions

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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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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