Created by Cyndie Sebourn, a former teacher, this app is part of a series of apps that focus on grammar and are aligned with common core state standards in the US. It is a solid education app, with all the enhancements that make a storybook engaging to digital natives. Each page contains a rich assortment of activities and interactive content, including Spanish translation for many parts of the story (under the phrase "secret language").
The first book in this series was Smarty Britches: Nouns. In this title we once again meet Wyatt, a young boy with a pair of colorful pants he calls his 'smarty britches'. Wyatt takes readers on a tour of his hometown in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. We also meet his friend Izel, a young Latina girl who is bilingual. This colorful learning adventure is a series of scenes from rural life in the southern United States. The children narrate the story, teaching young learners about active verbs along the way. The story begins with:
Once upon a time, in the woods of Hot Springs Village, Arkansas at "PaPa's Peaceful Paradise," the woods were full of confusion because the action verbs were running about willy-nilly, attaching themselves to any sentence they could find. Fortunately, before all peace was lost, Sheriff Cowboy Wyatt rode in on his highfalutin horse to save the day.
As the narrative unfolds, Izel and Wyatt hunt for "Rowdy Action Verbs" that have upset the peaceful paradise of their fair land. Each action verb is featured in the text in red for young learners. Nice features include a page guide (with activity 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 four games/extras, included within the story's pages. They include a recipe for S'mores, action verbs explained, A sparkling "Starry Night" page and a coloring page.
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. The illustrations are all nicely detailed with light animation on some pages, including the ability to lasso the verbs in the text on each page. The common core activities and the obvious care shown in the construction of this app, make it a perfect fit for classroom use. The additional curricula resources are online & free, although it would be great to have them added into the book itself. Activities include:
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 many of the verbs make this an enriching text that can even inspire young writers to create a story about their own lives (and rowdy verbs). The addition of free curriculum ideas makes this an easy 'buy' for (home)school use.
This app has been thoroughly evaluated by our staff. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how it fared in all nine of our rating categories. See synopsis tab for more details about the storyline.
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
10 - 15 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 6 - 9
English • Spanish •
Travel to the Deep South and discover ROWDY ACTION VERBS! Meet a boy with a magical pair of Smarty Britches and join him as he rounds up the ROWDY ACTION VERBS that are upsetting PaPa’s Peaceful Paradise.
Discover the South as croaking frogs, singing locusts, fireflies, bears, armadillos, skunks, squirrels, raccoons, and more inhabit the tree house and PaPa’s Peaceful Paradise. The subplot introduces Sheriff Cowboy Wyatt riding in on his horse Ms. Sassafras to round up ROWDY ACTION VERBS that are disturbing PaPa’s Peaceful Paradise.
Meet Izel, a Latina girl from Texas, who teaches Spanish and provides fun facts for young readers. Smarty Britches Jackson, the main character in Smarty Britches: Nouns, reappears in this book to point out the NOUNS in Smarty Britches Wyatt’s ROWDY ACTION VERBS story.
Author Cyndie Sebourn, a National Board Certified Teacher, created this series for early learners as a tool to empower educators and parents to teach children language arts with cross-curricular subjects.
Activities within the book include cooking, action verbs in Van Gogh’s art, and math. Free Printables can be found at appswithcurriculum.com, which includes a coloring sheet that focuses on Symbolism and Mood in Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, Narrative and Argumentative/Opinion Writing activities, and the analyzing of plot and subplot. If needed, this curriculum aligns with Common Core State Standards.
The book app and activities explore the cultural uniqueness of the South, depicting its beauty and the charm of its southern people.
Activities include student-friendly objectives, Common Core State Standards alignment, upper levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, cross-curricular subjects, cultural differences, and technology. Highlighted and narrated text improves reading fluency, comprehension, and retention so that the educator can spend more time on skills that students need to be successful and ultimately, college and career ready. [Source: iTunes]