This Arthur app makes great use of humor to help make reading skills fun

ARTHUR'S BIRTHDAY

Arthur and Muffy have planned their birthday parties for the same day, which kicks off a round of problem-solving and a lesson in conflict resolution.

Chock full of action, this app puts equal focus on reading skills, storyline and sense of fun. The text is available in both Spanish and English, and one can easily change the languages back and forth on each page. Every page is fully animated and interactive. Features range from silly fun—the students’ drawings on the walls act out hilarious vignettes, and two kitchen chairs produce an impressive musical sequence—to animations that serve to move the story forward. For instance, when readers swipe to turn the first page, Arthur gathers his things and heads off to school. Options on the home page give detailed tips for parents on how to use this app to build reading and language skills. Extensive teacher resources explain the educational features built into the app to help tailor it for individual learning needs. “Patience mode” requires readers to wait until one activity is finished before starting another; “page story completion” ensures that the whole page has been read before interactions are activated. With all the care put into the features, it’s too bad the art is quite pixelated.

This Arthur app makes great use of humor to help make reading skills fun . (iPad storybook app. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Wanderful

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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Empathetic art and lyrical text blend for a touching and empowering tale.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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AARON SLATER, ILLUSTRATOR

From the Questioneers series

The latest book in the Questioneer series centers an African American boy who has dyslexia.

Roberts’ characteristic cartoon illustrations open on a family of six that includes two mothers of color, children of various abilities and racial presentations, and two very amused cats. In a style more expressive and stirring than other books in the series, Beaty presents a boy overcoming insecurities related to reading comprehension. Like Harlem Renaissance artist Aaron Douglas, the boy’s namesake, the protagonist loves to draw. More than drawing, however, young Aaron wishes to write, but when he tries to read, the letters appear scrambled (effectively illustrated with a string of wobbly, often backward letters that trail across the pages). The child retreats into drawing. After an entire school year of struggle, Aaron decides to just “blend in.” At the beginning of the next school year, a writing prompt from a new teacher inspires Aaron, who spends his evening attempting to write “a story. Write something true.” The next day in class, having failed to put words on paper, Aaron finds his voice and launches into a story that shows how “beauty and kindness and loving and art / lend courage to all with a welcoming heart.” In the illustration, a tableau of colorful mythological beings embodies Aaron’s tale. The text is set in a dyslexia-friendly type. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Empathetic art and lyrical text blend for a touching and empowering tale. (author's note, illustrator's note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5396-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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A deliciously sweet reminder to try one’s unique best.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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THE SMART COOKIE

From the Food Group series

This smart cookie wasn’t alwaysa smart cookie.

At the corner of Sweet Street stands a bakery, which a whole range of buns and cakes and treats calls home, including a small cookie who “didn’t feel comfortable speaking up or sharing” any ideas once upon a time. During the early days of gingerbread school, this cookie (with sprinkles on its top half, above its wide eyes and tiny, smiling mouth) never got the best grades, didn’t raise a hand to answer questions, and almost always finished most tests last, despite all best efforts. As a result, the cookie would worry away the nights inside of a cookie jar. Then one day, kind Ms. Biscotti assigns some homework that asks everyone “to create something completely original.” What to do? The cookie’s first attempts (baking, building a birdhouse, sculpting) fail, but an idea strikes soon enough. “A poem!” Titling its opus “My Crumby Days,” the budding cookie poet writes and writes until done. “AHA!” When the time arrives to share the poem with the class, this cookie learns that there’s more than one way to be smart. John and Oswald’s latest installment in the hilarious Food Group series continues to provide plenty of belly laughs (thanks to puns galore!) and mini buns of wisdom in a wholly effervescent package. Oswald’s artwork retains its playful, colorful creative streak. Although slightly less effective than its predecessors due to its rather broad message, this one’s nonetheless an excellent addition to the menu.(This book was reviewed digitally.)

A deliciously sweet reminder to try one’s unique best. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-304540-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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