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YOU ARE STARDUST by Elin Kelsey Kirkus Star


by Elin Kelsey & illustrated by Soyeon Kim & developed by Owlkids

Age Range: 5 - 12

Pub Date: Dec. 6th, 2012
Publisher: Owlkids Books

This eloquent introduction to some very large concepts is science written like poetry.

Environmental consultant and educator Kelsey brings her strengths to the table in this app, which is based on the 2012 book of the same name. Though packing plenty of interesting facts (who knew we sneeze with the force of a tornado? or that many animals get their friends to babysit?), the concise writing gives even young readers the tools to think about our integral connection with nature. Readers old enough to question on their own will be eager to learn more—perhaps wanting to learn what an atom is or how it is that the water we drink is the same water the dinosaurs drank. The author carefully draws parallels between the greater cycles of nature and our own bodies; for instance, "you shed the most hair in early autumn," just like trees losing leaves, and "will replace your skin 100 times before you are ten" just as the Earth cycles through the seasons, renewing and replacing its surface. Kim’s stunning and sophisticated 3-D dioramas adapt well to the tablet medium; tilting the tablet shifts perspective subtly, and “page turns” are pleasantly dizzying. Though touch-activated interaction is minimal, low-key animations complement the text’s lyricism. Read by the author, the app includes a section by the artist explaining how she created the dioramas, a note from the author with even more scientific facts and a build-your-own-diorama activity.

The perfect combination of art and science to get kids engaged with nature. (iPad informational app. 5-12)