February 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Paul Klee, for Kids | Touch and Go

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We don’t often see apps that introduce children to pictorial art. All the more reason to enjoy this one. Allison Tran reviews it below.

From ExplorArt Klee

From ExplorArt Klee  (Lapisly)


The beautifully designed ExplorArt Klee—The Art of Paul Klee, for Kids (Lapisly, iOS, $4.99; Gr 1-5)  introduces children to the dreamlike works of the 20th-century master. Upon opening the app, users are greeted by a young boy and a cat who serve as guides to this glimpse his life and art. Favoring discovery over instruction, the app intuitively invites viewers to tap  the screen to create their own experiences. Six significant Klee works are presented and users can interact with each selection in a different way. Some scenes emphasize shape and dimension, while others encourage awareness of music and motion. The gentle soundtrack provides a pleasant ambiance that encourages kids to linger and explore.

Children will love assembling a puzzle of Klee’s 1928 painting, “Castle and Sun.” Another highlight is the representation of “Dream Town” (1921), which allows users to push and pull the shapes in the painting, causing them to interact like machine parts. The app is not a full-fledged biography of Klee or complete catalog of his works—it is child-friendly and refrains from overwhelming young viewers with information. However, for those who appreciate a little more detail, the navigation menu at the bottom of each screen provides more information about the images.

The app can be enjoyed at multiple levels. Younger children will dive right into the artwork to discover surprises and hidden interactivity, while older children will be more likely to pause and read along with the friendly, British-accented narration that provides context about Klee and his work. The overall experience is soothing and whimsical—a thoroughly delightful introduction to a complex artist. This user-driven exploration of Klee’s works provides a good opportunity for discussions with parents or teachers, and will pair nicely with a unit on Klee or 20th-century art. A trailer is available.–Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA


Screen from ExplorArt Klee

Screen from ExplorArt Klee (Lapisly)

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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