A young boy with a pair of colorful pants he calls his 'smarty britches', takes readers on a tour of his hometown in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. This colorful learning adventure is a series of scenes from a young boy's rural life in the southern United States. He names each of the things he loves in his environment, teaching young learners about nouns along the way. Discover the People, Animals, Things, Places & Ideas that make up a child's world in this story app.
Nice features include a page guide (with game pages), instructions and lots of educational enhancements. Text highlighting is phrase-by-phrase, and while word-by-word would be ideal, this is a nice way to keep young readers following along. Page turning is solid, with arrows in the form of turned corners at the top of each page. The font is also stylized, but still easy to read. Nice narration has an added plus - it must finish before any interactions can be triggered. There are also six games/extras, included within the story's pages. They include finding hidden 'animal' nouns, identifying 'people' nouns and a light bulb that shows words for 'idea' nouns.
Tapping on most images will elicit a sound effect or slight animation. These interactive elements and games are mostly related to the story, but may be distracting in a learning environment or with more than one child. I would suggest adding a setting to turn them off for classroom use in particular. While the interactions are fun and may reinforce learning, I would have liked to see something more to help children differentiate between nouns and other parts of speech. There also could be more instructions for the page with the cash register, which can be tapped to see retail items appear on the counter next to it. I wasn't really sure about the purpose of this page, but my child did enjoy tapping it to see each item appear once we figured it out together.
The illustrations are all nicely detailed with light animation on some pages, including the ability to turn the light on and off in the boy's bedroom. I would also suggest adding something to the set up of the story about the role of nouns in sentence construction for children not yet familiar with 'parts of speech'. This can also be achieved by using the series of curriculum ideas from creator (and teacher) Cyndie Sebourn. I really liked these common core activities and the obvious care shown in the construction of this app. These materials are online & free, but it would be great to have them added into the book itself.
Overall, this is a sweet story perfect for young learners and armchair travelers. While the plot may be a bit dry for frequent re-reading, this title is perfect for use during a lesson about parts of speech and/or travel to different regions of the United States. Cultural and geographic references for all of the nouns make this an enriching text that can even inspire young writers to create a story about their own lives (and nouns). The addition of free curriculum ideas makes this an easy 'buy' for (home)school use (and for any Razorback fans out there). Recommended.
Note to readers: This review was expedited by the developer for a fee. The review's content is the same, but timing of publication has been prioritized.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Cyndie Sebourn/Manuela Soriani
8 - 12 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 6 - 9
A young boy in the southern United States describes his discovery of nouns - a person, animal, place, thing or idea. He shows readers his family (people nouns), his environment (place, animal, and thing nouns) and talks about feelings (idea nouns).
The setting is Hot Springs Village, Arkansas and covers topics including football, music, trap & release of animals, clothes shopping and goodnight prayers.