THE ARTIFACTS by Lynley Stace
Kirkus Star


by & illustrated by & developed by
Age Range: 8 - 13
Available on the App Store
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This beautiful, resonant story about the way we leave behind childish things (but never really abandon them) delivers a specific, potent experience unusual even for the best iPad apps.

Asaf, a bespectacled boy who is turning 13, is obsessed with art and antiques, and they soon clutter his room. When his family moves, his parents take the opportunity to remove the clutter and urge Asaf to keep a neat space. In true teenage fashion, Asaf wallows in grief and drama over the change, but in time he learns that his growing mind can store more objects (albeit imaginary) and ideas than the biggest bedroom ever could. The evocative, painted artwork throughout the story is dark and moody, which makes the occasional flashes of humor all the more enjoyable. At one point, Asaf imagines a ramshackle cottage surrounded by fearsome bears... and one silly chicken, standing upright. He ends up writing a short story featuring the clucking creature. Interactive features enhance the story rather than distract from it. A sink pours out hot and cold words from two faucets instead of water ("Interest" / "Worry"; "Pleasure" / "Contempt"). A clothesline of wiggling shadows hangs across Asaf's bedroom. "He stepped on shadows to snag them... then strung them across his ceiling with imaginary pegs and imaginary twine." Touching the shadows makes them spookily float toward the reader and disappear.

The story perfectly captures Asaf's transition from a love of objects to a thirst for knowledge that goes beyond physical things. The app shows a remarkable sensitivity to this volatile moment and does it with style and grace. (iPad storybook app. 8-13)



Pub Date: Dec. 8th, 2011
Publisher: Slap Happy Larry
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2012


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