This app is from The Martina collection, based on a print series published originally in Catalan. In this English translation, an important but very specific issue for children is tackled. In the first title, Goodbye Grandpa, Martina had to deal with the death of a loved one. In this book, she deals with a blended or step-family situation. Martina is the little girl in this series, with an older brother who has 'two daddies' creating a lot of confusion for her. She comes to learn that her brother is her mother's child from an earlier marriage, so now he has two dads, instead of one.
While this collection of titles is extremely simple, so much so that I'm surprised Apple hasn't rejected them for submission as iBooks, I make a point of including them in my reviews because I think they are so unique for covering difficult topics that children face. This series is extremely well-crafted based on my training in children's mental health issues. Despite coming from a European cultural framework, I have found this series to be very appropriate for American children in similar situations.
However, I do strongly recommend that parents and educators preview this book first (and really all children's apps), before using it with their own children or students. Like all children's books with a strong perspective on a social issue, it is useful to familiarize yourself with the story before sharing it with youngsters. My biggest concern with this specific title is that it may oversimplify the committment made in marriage by comparing it to a child's friendships based on similar interests that change over time. This explanation may be the easiest way to explain a divorce to a young child in a way they can digest, but it may also be incompatible with religious teachings or other values.
Overall this is a solidly made digital book, although it is very simply constructed. There is no animation, interactivity, sound or even narration. These titles are literally scanned images from a print series that can be read by paging through the screenshots with a simple swipe. But for the type of content they offer, this series is very valuable, especially when you consider that the only alternative would be much more expensive print publications. For situations where a child needs to understand about blended families and also feel they are not the only one to experience this emotional situation, I highly recommend this title to parents who find this explanation palatable.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Carles Coll Madrenas
3 - 5 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 5 - 9
English • Spanish •
One day Martina asks her dad about the man she sees regularly who picks up her older brother and doesn't bring him back until the weekend is over. When her dad says, "He's your brother's Daddy," Martina is very confused. Isn't her dad also her brother's dad? She then asks her aunt who tells Martina to ask her mom ...
When Martina asks her 'mum' about this, she gets the following explanation ... a long time ago [Martina's mom] lived in another house with [another man] ... [Martina's mom and this man] loved each other, and they had [Martina's brother] ... "But the years passed and people sometimes change, and they were not happy together and they stopped loving each other, [Martina's brother] went to live somewhere else and [Martina's mother] stayed with [Martina's] brother."
Martina gets worried that maybe her mother will stop loving her someday if she could stop loving the father of Martina's brother ... but her mom reassures her that "the love between a parent and their child is different, it's unconditional, it's the biggest love there is in the world." Her mom goes on to compare the love between husband-wife to the affinity children have with playmates who share a similar interest (like football). So when common intestests change, people sometimes decide to change their friends (and their marriage partners). [A bit of a run-on sentence here, but for dialogue, I suspose it can be overlooked.]
Martina's mother also suggests that this topic is something Martina will "understand better when you are older." In the end, Martina declares, "I think my Brother is lucky to have two Dads!"