February 18, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

“Homes” Around the World | Touch and Go

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Homes (Tinybop) Tuesday B

Homes (Tinybop) ©2015 Tuesday Bassen


We’ve reviewed a number of Tinybop apps recently—and there are more to come. Today it seemed appropriate to explore Homes—the developer just informed us that they’ve added fireworks in celebration of the Fourth of July to a Brooklyn, NY,  street scene.

Viewers get to peek inside a Yemeni tower house, a Mongolian ger (yurt), an adobe structure in the Guatemalan highlands, and a row house located in the Northeastern United States when they enter Tinybop’s Homes ($3.99; K–Gr 5). Along with the trappings of modern living (radios, TVs, computers, antennas, solar panels), they will spy items, fabrics, and art typically found in dwellings in these countries and animals native to these climes. Distinct structural aspects of each home are also on view; for example, the animal pen on the bottom level of the tower house and the yurt’s portability. Exploration of each location yields a concept book that can be opened, featuring the language of the particular country.

Various screens feature animations (livestock trot, chickens strut, steam rises, water moves through plumbing) and interactive opportunities (pots, pans, pillow, toys, and clothing can moved about, a  puzzle assembled, drawers and doors opened, a gate unlocked, and a remote can trigger changes to a TV screen, etc.). Scenes can also be personalized by uploading images into picture frames. While it may be difficult to decipher all the details of some of the dwellings’ exteriors and surroundings, cutaway, interior, and zoomable views will bring children up close (and inside the homes) and allow them to make cultural comparisons.

There is no text beyond labels, but the extensive online handbook (available in 11 languages as a free download) offers additional information and suggestions of prompts to use with children when exploring how people around the world live and “how landscape and the surrounding areas, architecture, materials, and division of space shape each residence.”—Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal

For another look at contemporary architecture, see our review of Apprentice Architect. Additional app reviews are available on our dedicated app webpage.

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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.