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A SONG FOR MILES by Tiffany Simpkins Russell


by Tiffany Simpkins Russell & illustrated by Raheli Scarborough & developed by Diverse Mobile

Age Range: 4 - 10

Pub Date: June 1st, 2011
Publisher: Diverse Mobile

A young boy discovers that there’s more to music than instruments, lyrics and notes.

Much like his daddy, young Miles loves music. When his father observes him singing and dancing, he decides it’s time for a lesson in music appreciation. Miles learns that music can help people do things like express their feelings, appreciate their heritage (in this case, African-American) and count their blessings. Throughout the story, father and son consider compositions by Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Al Green and Nina Simone, among others. Scarborough uses “digital inks and acrylics” to create lush images that take full advantage of iPad screen resolution. Background music can be turned on or off, and the app offers both “Read to Myself” and “Read to Me” options (the latter of which is nicely articulated but sets a pace that feels quite rushed). Animation is minimal, and there are no interactive elements, but the graphic beauty and the unique subject matter warrant readers’ rapt attention. The author even provides a gateway to the iTunes catalog for each artist that is mentioned in the story.

This app may not deliver the “wow” factor some kids and parents have come to expect (especially given the $4.99 price tag), but it’s a creative and distinctive effort that will help youngsters consider the multi-faceted purposes of music. (iPad storybook app. 4-10)