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)