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ZOE'S GREEN PLANET by Nathalie Tousnakhoff


From the Colorful World series

by Nathalie Tousnakhoff & illustrated by Matt Roussell & developed by Square Igloo

Age Range: 3 - 8

Pub Date: Feb. 28th, 2013
Publisher: Square Igloo

Two little girls from planets which are different in only one big way become friends in this visually striking app.

Green Zoe is the middle child in a green family that lives on a green planet. Their green lives are shaken up when a big, red spaceship lands, depositing a red family from a red planet. The visitors send their daughter, Maho, to school with Zoe, and the two become friends, despite some color-coded bullying from another student. The friendship lasts, but Maho’s parents become homesick and decide to go back home. It’s a sad goodbye, but maybe Zoe can visit the red planet someday. The lesson of tolerance in the app is simple. The visuals are lovely, with green-hued cars, pets and people made of what appears to be carefully crafted papier-mâché. The spots of red, like Maho and her spaceship, pop amid all the green. Unfortunately, the red Takino family’s outsider status is emphasized by Asian stereotyping, including slanted lines for eyes and World War II propaganda–worthy buckteeth on the father. The text is unremarkable, simply moving the story along and prompting readers to perform simple on-screen actions. Five games from the story are available to play on their own from the app’s main menu. 

A simple story about planet-crossed friendship but one in which the eye-catching artwork both accounts for and counteracts much of the colorful charm. (iPad storybook app. 3-8)