February 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Boum! | Touch and Go

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In a note, Paula Willey, the reviewer of Boum! (below) offered: I am currently making my way through the new edition of Picture This: How Pictures Work (Chronicle, 2016), illustrator Molly Bang’s meditative exploration of the ways color, composition, and shape can communicate emotion. I can’t recommend that book highly enough. I think we would be hard-pressed to find a better demonstration of the principles Bang describes than this wordless app.

Boum! (Les inéditeurs/CNL/Salon du livre et de la presse jeunesse). Mikaël Cixous

Boum! (Les inéditeurs/CNL/Salon du livre et de la presse jeunesse). Mikaël Cixous


Day breaks over a city viewed as heavy black shapes and right angles. An alarm clock rings—a blast of red circles. An anonymous man gets ready for his day, the only bright spot in his routine, a lovely yellow banana that he puts in his briefcase. Viewers get the feeling they’re going to see that piece of fruit again in Mikaël Cixous’s Boum! (Les inéditeurs/CNL/Salon du livre et de la presse jeunesse, iOS, $2.99; Android, $3.40; Gr 3 Up). Repeated shapes, hard edges, and a limited palette indicate that this man’s life does not contain much joy or fun. Tension builds as he makes his way through the morning and viewers wonder: WHAT is going to happen?

Sound effects and truly interesting modern music by composer Jean-Jacques Birgé provide emotional cues and in some places stand in for dialogue. The app is not immensely interactive—the viewer’s role is to scroll horizontally and take it all in—but in this case, that is far from a criticism. Boum!‘s developers describe the app as a new way to experience story. The French term for “comic book” is bande dessinée, which literally translates to “strip cartoon.” By arranging the panels in a horizontal format, as Boum! does, readers are provided with a seamless narrative experience—one that is rich with interpretive possibility.–Paula Willey, @pwbalto, unadulterated.us


Boum! (Les inéditeurs/CNL/Salon du livre et de la presse jeunesse).Mikaël Cixous

Boum! (Les inéditeurs/CNL/Salon du livre et de la presse jeunesse).Mikaël Cixous

For additional app reviews, visit School Library Journal‘s 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.

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