THE LITTLE MERMAID AND OTHER STORIES BY HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN

Similar in style to the groundbreaking Alice for iPad, this collection of three stories ("The Little Mermaid," "The Emperor's New Clothes" and "The Happy Family") retains the original (translated) texts and illustrations and adds a generous portion of gorgeous, well-integrated animations and eye-catching effects. Helpfully, the list of stories tells readers what to expect in terms of length ("Mermaid" is long, "Clothes" is medium-length and "Family" is short). The stories share similar typography (ornate drop caps and page-turn icons), but each one has its own set of appropriate interactive pages. In "Mermaid," fish can be prodded along with taps while flora can be made to sway realistically in the virtual ocean water. Shooting stars and fireworks light up the night sky above. The fabric in "Clothes" can be pulled from a spool on one page; on another, needle and thread can be manipulated. But the kissing snails, falling raindrops and realistic scurrying ants in "Happy Family" may be the most effective. The stories lack voiced narration but are rich with sound effects. There's no crime in being inspired by one of the best iPad storybook apps; this collection stands on its own with the sheer number of things it does right, even in comparison to Alice. It's a beautiful little virtual book collection. (iPad storybook app. 4-12)

Pub Date: Dec. 23, 2010

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2011

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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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What a wag.

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DOG MAN

From the Dog Man series , Vol. 1

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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