March 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Celebrating Dad and Mom | Touch and Go

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Parental love is celebrated in two apps for the preschool set from Snappyant. With Father’s Day on the horizon, these may be just the productions to download on the family iPad.

dad coverAnna Walker’s charming I Love My Dad (Snappyant/Demibooks, $2.99; PreS-K), based on her book by the same title (Scholastic, 2009), celebrates the activities a father and son share during the course of a day: they make banana bread, then morning tea for everyone, go to the park, play hide-and-seek, and so on, until evening falls and the two doze off in bed as dad reads a book. Throughout the story, the duo—depicted here as stuffed animals—are accompanied by a rambunctious brown-spotted dog. Small but delightful animations accompany the activities, e.g., at the park with Dad and dog at his side, Ollie twirls, swings, and slides on the playground equipment. Reflecting both the joyful tone of the app and the activity on the screen is the upbeat music that kicks up the tempo with each turn of page. Ambient sounds—giggling, chirping birds, and the barking dog—are also heard in the background.

mom coverIn Rose Smith’s My Mom’s the Best (Snappyant/Demibooks, $3.99; PreS-K), illustrated by Bruce Whatley, a variety of mature animals express their love for their offspring through actions: a bear hugs her cub, a dog licks her puppy, a bird teaches her fledgling to sing, all depicted through animated scenes. The minimal text can be read or listened to in a linear fashion—the preferable approach the first time through—or particular scenes selected to view from a grid of colorful pastel images. (Page turns can be a bit clunky.) The story is best described as a series of affectionate, silly scenes, alternating with lines of text. Music opens the production and along with some background sounds—chirps, splashes, and squawks—accompanies the scenes. Children have the option of reading or listening to Mom in English, British English (swap the “Mom” for a “Mum” and a different accent), or Spanish.

These simple, reassuring stories that highlight the mutual love of parent and child are most appropriate for the very young, and will be most appreciated by them. In both, children trigger the animations through touch. Emergent readers may find it fun to try reading these texts (“I ride my bike. Dad, look at me!” “My mom’s the best because she gives me big hugs.”). In the narrated version of Dad, words are highlighted as they are read, providing additional support for new readers.—Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal

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Daryl Grabarek About Daryl Grabarek

Daryl Grabarek 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.