It would be nice to have more control over the pace of the story, but the overall presentation is so spectacular it’s worth...

THE NUTCRACKER MUSICAL STORYBOOK

A stunning iPad adaptation showcases the story behind the popular ballet.

Over the last century, scores of books have attempted to capture The Nutcracker’s magic, but any one of them would be hard pressed to outshine this version. Without question the app’s most breathtaking component is the lavish artwork hand-painted by fine-art painter/illustrator Tanaka. Her exquisite use of color and light coupled with her distinctive interpretations of the characters provides a luxuriant feast for the eyes. Text is effectively scant, and there is no narration. Each screen is accompanied (occasionally at inconsistent audio levels) by Tchaikovsky’s beloved compositions, as performed by the developer’s “virtual” orchestra. In storybook mode, the features run their course at their own pace (which is frequently painstakingly slow), and readers have no choice but to wait it out. In movie mode, the pages turn automatically; both options offer a pause button. Interactive features are minimal and involve eliciting various brief sound effects, but there’s plenty of brilliant animation—though at times movement resembles languid animatronics in a mall display. On the iPad 2, the app can be streamed to HDTV for a “concert hall” experience.

It would be nice to have more control over the pace of the story, but the overall presentation is so spectacular it’s worth lingering over. (iPad storybook app. 3-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Mouse King Media

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2011

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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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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