This cute title, from Ruckus Media, stars a little boy who is a bit of a smart-aleck, but also wiser than the authorities questioning him. The book begins with Andrew in his classroom - and the teacher conveniently off screen, talking 'at' him about the day's lesson, the letter "N". When asked, "Can you tell us a word that starts with 'N'?" he answers, "No." She asks several more questions, with similar results and these funny 'shenanigans' (as my son would call them) continue for several more sentences until she sends him to the principal's office.
He goes from office to office of higher authorities until he reaches the President of the United States, who judiciously announces that Andrew is a genius and should skip all the grades and start college. It's absurd, but very funny. And it has a neat kind of interactivity ... a couple short games to move the story forward. One has a tiny Andrew in a maze, and tilting the iPad moves him to the principal's office. When Andrew's parents are summoned to the school, the page has you park their car in the right parking space. These activities are in the middle of the story, but can be skipped.
These two pages were a fun idea, but a bit touchy in their implementation for the iPad in particular. They seemed harder on the 'easy' setting, for instance, so on a hunch I tested the book on my iPod and the controls worked better for these elements with the small screen. I also had the app lock up a couple of times during the 'maze' and since there is no home button, I had to restart the book from the beginning. These problems were exclusive to the iPad, though. The app felt more intuitive all around on the smaller device.
The app, while enjoyable, does need some additional settings. There is really no way to read the book yourself, even if you mute the sound, since text of the dialogue back and forth disappears right after it's narrated. But even without any updates, this is a charming story by Alan Katz and a unique offering in the app store; it hits just the right note between silly and substance.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Alan Katz/Marc Summers (narration)
6 - 8 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 5 - 10
Andrew answers many adults in this book, as they question him about words that start with different letters of the alphabet. First his teacher asks him for a word with the letter "N". "No," answers Andrew. This continues with, "Never, Nothing & Nonsense" although he doesn't say, "No" when sent to the principal's office, thankfully. At his next stop, with the letter "W": What, When, Why, and Whatever. Then L = Later, Lunchtime, I = Impossible, C = Can't, R = Ridiculous, S = Seriously until Andrew goes on to the School Board, Mayor and finally the White House. The president listens and decides that the real problem is that Andrew is a genius! He promptly sends the boy to college. The end.