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. 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2009

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A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images.

THURGOOD

The life journey of the first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court and the incidents that formed him.

Thurgood Marshall grew up in segregated Baltimore, Maryland, with a family that encouraged him to stand for justice. Despite attending poor schools, he found a way to succeed. His father instilled in him a love of the law and encouraged him to argue like a lawyer during dinner conversations. His success in college meant he could go to law school, but the University of Maryland did not accept African American students. Instead, Marshall went to historically black Howard University, where he was mentored by civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall’s first major legal case was against the law school that denied him a place, and his success brought him to the attention of the NAACP and ultimately led to his work on the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education, which itself led to his appointment to the Supreme Court. This lively narrative serves as an introduction to the life of one of the country’s important civil rights figures. Important facts in Marshall’s life are effectively highlighted in an almost staccato fashion. The bold watercolor-and-collage illustrations, beginning with an enticing cover, capture and enhance the strong tone set by the words.

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images. (author’s note, photos) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6533-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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