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Dentist Bird: A West African Folktale

January 1, 2015

By: Jayne Clare


An engaging African folktale for older readers ...

Dentist Bird: A West African Folktale by Literary Safari Inc. is a wonderful story to share with young children and is a must have app for anyone teaching diversity, compassion, and empathy. The book was written and retold by Michael Richards and has been illustrated by David Wolobah, he applies oil paint to denim with knife and palette for a distinct and original style that enriches the story ten-fold. If you are as intrigued with the art work as we were, watch this moving interview with the Liberian artist here. The awesome story contains surprising visuals and a cacophony of animal sounds throughout, couple this with a just-right mix of soothing music and engaging interactivity – you’ve got yourself a winning combination!

In this folktale, a plover bird takes on the role of a dentist and makes a medicinal mixture to cure the crocodile’s toothache and strikes a deal for the two species to live and coexist with an agreement that all plover birds will eat the fish out of any crocodile’s mouth without harm. This mutual agreement to help one another has many elements worthy of a discussion on cultural differences and the need for tolerance in this day and age. The children we played with were full of questions and eagerly engaged in this folktale. Along the way while playing children can win awards for their participation in aiding the plover bird in his quest for a healing potion.

The gameplay is embedded throughout the story and there is an additional setting for a fast-paced Mission of Mercy game where kids need to move quickly in order for the plover to help the crocodiles. The added learning pages at the end are a real treat; kids can learn some quick facts about the rainforest animals and practice their auditory discrimination skills. One can also visit an interactive map of Africa that allows the reader to zoom into different areas throughout the continent and several more Liberia learning pages! If that isn’t enough for you to rush out and purchase this app maybe the fact that 100% of all sales will be donated to the We-Care Foundation’s efforts to keep children reading and learning amidst the Ebola outbreak.#ReadforLiberia. 

Staytuned: Dentist Bird is the first installment in Literary Safari’s series of interactive global folktales.


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.

This review was originally published by TeachersWithApps.com on December 14, 2014. Teachers With Apps was co-founded by Jayne Clare, a Special Education teacher, and Anne Rachel, an artist and Early Childhood educator.

Their goal is to be a credible resource for quality educational apps. Created to help parents, grandparents, teachers, administrators and anyone else, wade through the vast number of  ”educational” apps being introduced on a daily basis. Teachers With Apps was founded by two lifelong educators and is dedicated to the idea that quality mobile educational apps are the tools of the future but they need to be used responsibly. Remember, not all educational apps are created equal.

All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.


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Dentist Bird: A West African Folktale

January 1, 2015

By: Carisa Kluver

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Michael Richards/David Wolobah


Length (time):
15 - 20 Minutes

Based on non-digital book: Yes

Allows Own Narration:

Uses Motion: No

Age: 6 - 9 +

English •

Length (pages):
24 Pages


Story Synopsis - Dentist Bird: A West African Folktale

From iTunes:

Discover an interactive folktale, rich with gameplay! Enter Liberia’s rainforest and help one clever bird cure a crocodile of his terrible toothache! With teacher and parent guides to read, play, and learn at home and in the classroom. 

#ReadforLiberia. Read.Play.Learn. with Dentist Bird to support literacy in Liberia. 100% of your purchase of this app will go to the We-Care Foundation, a non-profit organization in Liberia that is working to keep children reading and learning amidst the Ebola outbreak. 

Dentist Bird is the first installment in Literary Safari’s series of interactive global folktales. 

::::: Read :::::
Tap and swipe to explore the sights and sounds of Liberia’s rainforest as you meet a Crocodile and his animal friends and help one clever bird make a very special medicine for Crocodile. 

::::: Play :::::
Get achievements for helping Dentist Bird collect Crocodile’s medicine orbs and deliver them to him. 

::::: Learn :::::
Match animal sounds and find Liberia on a world map. 

::::: App Features :::::
• Authentic text and illustrations with life-like pagecurl
• Touch and drag characters and objects that come alive with the tap of a finger
• Built-in mini-games that invite users to unfold the story and help make a medicine for Crocodile
• Fun geography and science learning activities
• Teacher’s Guide with reading, STEM, music, and civics classroom connections
• Printable graphic organizers and CCSS-alignment charts
• Parent’s Guide for reading and playing together at home
• “Read to Me” with word highlighting to improve reading skills
• Resettable Achievements screen for Read and Play sections
• A West African-inspired soundtrack by Dora the Explorer composer, Steve Sandberg
• Based on "How Plover Bird Came to Clean Crocodile’s Teeth: A West African Folktale," retold by Michael Richards and illustrated by David Wolobah


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Orientation: Landscape

Format: Universal


Read to Me, Read Myself, Play, Learn, Achievements, Home, Text/Highlight/Music/Sound - On/Off, PageGuide, Parents Section (enter year of birth to access) with Links to: Web

App Release Date:


Size: 247.57 MB

Version: 1.0

Lite Version Available: No



Dentist Bird: A West African Folktale

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