THE BULLY BOOK

A conversation-starting app aims to ignite discussion via the experiences of three students who each describe a bullying incident from his or her own point of view.

To engage the app, users are prompted to select one of three characters, Ally, Pearl or Jeremy. Each character narrates an account of a bullying incident in which Pearl, who is autistic, is upset by Ally’s cruelty, and Jeremy comforts her. Watercolor illustrations of variable quality and limited interactivity accompany each narrative, also providing alternate angles and perspectives on the event. To varying levels, with Jeremy’s bordering on didacticism, each character weaves information about autism into their narratives. Gently prodding users to delve deeper, each story is followed by questions and answers that discuss the characters and attempt to explain some of their actions. Lastly, users are prompted to reflect on their own reactions to the characters and the presence of similar people in their lives. Seemingly tacked on and delivering little value are three minor interactive features attached to each character’s narrative, which include low-tech coloring pages, a jigsaw-puzzle activity and a challenge to find hidden objects within selected narrative scenes. A basic app that provides more of a traditional book experience than might be expected from the format but that has potential to provoke conversations about autism and bullying. (iPad storybook app. 5-9) 

 

Pub Date: July 20, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Do2Learn

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

OTIS

From the Otis series

Continuing to find inspiration in the work of Virginia Lee Burton, Munro Leaf and other illustrators of the past, Long (The Little Engine That Could, 2005) offers an aw-shucks friendship tale that features a small but hardworking tractor (“putt puff puttedy chuff”) with a Little Toot–style face and a big-eared young descendant of Ferdinand the bull who gets stuck in deep, gooey mud. After the big new yellow tractor, crowds of overalls-clad locals and a red fire engine all fail to pull her out, the little tractor (who had been left behind the barn to rust after the arrival of the new tractor) comes putt-puff-puttedy-chuff-ing down the hill to entice his terrified bovine buddy successfully back to dry ground. Short on internal logic but long on creamy scenes of calf and tractor either gamboling energetically with a gaggle of McCloskey-like geese through neutral-toned fields or resting peacefully in the shade of a gnarled tree (apple, not cork), the episode will certainly draw nostalgic adults. Considering the author’s track record and influences, it may find a welcome from younger audiences too. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-399-25248-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2009

ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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