This story of a lowly ditch digger from Baghdad reinforces stereotypes about Middle Eastern culture and includes inaccurate information.
Ahmad travels from Baghdad to Cairo to follow a prophecy he hears in the titular dream. While at first he seems foolish and gullible, he perseveres to discover his fortune. The navigation and narration in the “Read to Me” mode work smoothly, and the “Fact Find” mode allows readers to uncover brief pieces of information. Games help children learn about traditional Arab clothing, food and musical instruments. However, the app promotes clichéd notions of Arab life and incorrect information of key elements. Baghdad is one of the Middle East’s largest cities and is at the center of Iraq’s fertile agricultural region, yet Ahmad is portrayed as a ditch digger living in a “broken-down…house.” The illustrations show him wearing a vest without a shirt, but it is more likely that a rural Iraqi man would wear a long-sleeved shirt or gown, and his wife would wear a long black robe. Furthermore, while it is true that much of the Middle East is covered by desert, the illustrations show a cactus, a plant that is native to North and South America. While children can pick up some interesting information in this app, these glaring errors are unacceptable.
Steer clear of this app and seek out a well-researched Arab folktale instead. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)