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MR. MARTIN AND THE BIRDS / EL SEÑOR MARTÍN Y LOS PÁJAROS by Maroe Susti

MR. MARTIN AND THE BIRDS / EL SEÑOR MARTÍN Y LOS PÁJAROS

By Maroe Susti (Author) , Maroe Susti (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: June 28th, 2011
Publisher: Maroe Susti

An avian effort featuring concurrent English and Spanish versions of a story about a man and his feathered friends fails to take flight, despite some nice design touches.

Mr. Martin, an old man who has befriended groups of birds at the park, is puzzled when a crow tries to tell him something. Mr. Martin can speak to sparrows, blue jays and robins, "[b]ut what of other birds? Like eagles, or swans? Cockatoos, or crows? Not a word of their squeaks could he interpret!" As it turns out, the crow warned of rain, a turn of events so inspiring, Mr. Martin resolves to go home and write about it for his grandkids. While its hand-drawn illustrations and modest bits of animation work well (mostly birds flying across the screen or engaging in small bits of word-balloon dialogue), the story is slight, and the translation is rough. In Spanish, Mr. Martin's story is a lovely, rhythmic slice of life, but the English text, which also appears on each page, is riddled with unnecessary punctuation, at least one major misspelling ("though" instead of "thought"). There are no real options beyond page turns, and if there's a way to get back to the main menu once the story begins, it's very effectively hidden. It's a shame, because the pages themselves are beautifully designed. The app ends with a page that lists the birds’ English and Spanish names, though none are mentioned that way in the story proper.

The app itself is an odd bird that could use some updating, especially for the English version. (iPad storybook app. 5-8)