February 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Confetti Flies and Critters Glide in Boynton’s ‘But Not the Hippopotamus’ | Touch and Go

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A new app by Sandra Boynton is always cause for celebration.


Interior screen ‘But Not the Hippopotamus’ (Loud Crow) Boynton

A favorite Sandra Boynton tale But Not the Hippopotamus (Loud Crow Interactive, $2.99; PreS-K) comes to life in this charming, interactive story. An array of animals engage in everyday activities, such as jumping in mud, playing dress up, and going to the fair–all except the bashful hippopotamus. Once the animals realize that she is being left out of the fun, they invite her join in. “And she just doesn’t know. Should she stay? Should she go?” Her momentary quandary, results in a resounding YES! and a release of confetti.

The opening screen includes an image of a furry stuffed hippopotamus (labeled “Boynton”) that when tapped, emits a timid sigh. A tiny “For Parents” icon sits at the bottom of the page. Children can choose to have the story read to them or read it on their own. A melodic instrumental that loops throughout the latter may become bothersome to children trying to read the story. However, the volume control on the tablet can adjust, or turn off, the sound.

Each page of the story includes a touch, a tap, and/or a tilting interactive element. Users can touch the animals to make them slide, jiggle, cavort, or trigger sound effects, such as squeaking, quacking, and mooing. The story consists of short, phonetic sentences, featuring word-by-word highlighting. To hear a word voiced, listeners need only to tap it. The pages are somewhat touch-sensitive. Consequently, users may find the navigation easier on larger screens, as the app’s interactive elements tend to become jumbled otherwise. When readers and listeners reach the end of this cheery, brief story, chances are they will hit the “Start over!” button.-Krista Welz, North Bergen High School Media Center, NJ

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Daryl Grabarek About Daryl Grabarek

Daryl Grabarek dgrabarek@mediasourceinc.com is the editor of School Library Journal's monthly enewsletter, Curriculum Connections, and its online column Touch and Go. Before coming to SLJ, she held librarian positions in private, school, public, and college libraries. Her dream is to manage a collection on a remote island in the South Pacific.

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