The affordable price of this app makes it a low-risk investment, and parents may find the story helpful in stimulating...

BE A BUDDY, NOT A BULLY

A well-meaning but weak story about dealing with bullies.

Bullying is certainly a timely topic to cover with kids, and this app gets props for tackling it. A farmer named Harvest finds Buck the banker digging for treasure on his property. When Harvest protests, Buck responds by calling him names, threatening to slander him and pelting him with ears of corn. Harvest takes Buck to arbitration with Chief Tatupu, who gives Harvest’s journal to Buck so he’ll understand Harvest’s feelings and see the error of his ways. Predictably, Buck is enlightened, repents and the two become the best of friends. Telling a person in authority about a problem is an important step, but the resolution in this story is wildly idealistic. In reality, getting a bully to understand one’s feelings rarely results in a cessation of mistreatment, which begs the question, what is one to do when the bully doesn’t care at all about the pain he or she is inflicting? In terms of interaction and animation, there are a few standard bells and whistles—falling leaves, animals that are hiding, a “game” that helps Harvest dodge the corn—but most tactile elements are rudimentary and lackluster.

The affordable price of this app makes it a low-risk investment, and parents may find the story helpful in stimulating conversation about bullying. But they’ll likely need to fill in a lot of holes. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Midlandia Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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