Kirkus Reviews QR Code
AXEL'S CHAIN REACTION by Laura Allison Pomenta Badolato


by Laura Allison Pomenta Badolato ; illustrated by Mónica Armiño ; developed by Laura Allison Pomenta Badolato

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 2013
Publisher: Laura Allison Pomenta Badolato

Repeated failures set up a young artist/tinkerer for success in a tale driven by its agenda but laden with extras.

Restless, inattentive and probably a sufferer of ADHD or of a spectrum disorder, Axel continually annoys his third-grade classmates and teacher. A typical mishap sends him and the other students sprawling over their carefully constructed art projects. Recollection of his lengthy struggles at home to create a kinetic sculpture à la Alexander Calder inspires him to recast the broken materials and paint-spattered room into one big collective artwork that wows everyone. The figures in Armiño’s cartoon scenes move and gesture clumsily, but there’s some compensation in the interactions. The wide range of touch-, tilt- and shake-activated animations is capped by a camera at the end that lets viewers take selfies. Furthermore, the multivoiced audio track can be switched on or off, a thumbnail strip allows easy navigation, and tapping the visible lines magnifies the scrolling lines of text. Moreover, both the story and three appended projects feature video clips showing kinetic art in action, the author profiles Calder and two other artists in a side feature, and an icon promises a game in a future update.

A “hands-on” tale with an appealing protagonist whose road to triumph is a realistically rocky one. (glossary) (iPad storybook app. 6-10)