Kirkus Reviews QR Code
BE CONFIDENT IN WHO YOU ARE by Annie Fox

BE CONFIDENT IN WHO YOU ARE

From the Middle School Confidential series

by Annie Fox, illustrated by Matt Kindt, developed by Electric Eggplant

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: April 1st, 2011
Publisher: Free Spirit

Traditionally a paper-based series, Middle School Confidential adapts its first graphic novel to the iPad leveraging the device’s functionality to infuse a wide variety of sounds, short songs and character voices.

The app takes advantage of zoom features to take readers through panel by panel, providing a sense of forward motion that synchronizes well with the text’s format. Divided into eight chapters, the story introduces relevant teen topics such as body image, self-esteem, popularity and stress through short, everyday interactions among a group of six male and female friends. To round out each chapter, a teen presents a related short message that’s more public-service announcement than component of the story, which may feel over the top to the audience. Each character is presented through actions and dialogue in the short chapters and with a brief bio that includes his or her strengths and insecurities. Additionally, each bio includes an e-mail address, which links to the iPad’s e-mail function; there is no indication of who will actually receive a reader’s e-mail message and what if any response such an e-mail might trigger. The images in the line-and-watercolor panels mirror and reinforce the characters’ related emotions or actions.

It’s a great use of iPad functionality, but the sometimes heavy-handed emphasis on positive message detracts from the overall text. (iPad graphic self-help. 10-12)