February 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Artie’s Magic Pencil | Touch and Go

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In this interactive adventure from Minilab Studios, children help the protagonist move through a story that delivers concept play and a motor-skill workout. 

Like King Arthur, Artie, of Artie’s Magic Pencil (Minilab Studios LTD, iOS, $2.99; Android, Free, with IAP; PreS-Gr 1) pulls the aforementioned pencil from a stone and his captivating adventure begins. Hot spots guide users to tap the screen to advance the boy through the landscape.

The colorful cartoon fellow likes to help others and there’s plenty of opportunity to do so as a fierce dinosaur is destroying everything in its wake. Tapping the light bulb icon that appears when assistance is needed takes users to a creation zone where they are presented with connect-the-dot circles, triangles, or rectangles to complete using their own magic pencils (fingers).

The finished shapes fill with color. Further shapes are added until a recognizable object is created. Users may change the color, pattern, or details of the 25 available objects (bird, truck, house, etc.), before the items leave the creation zone and enter Artie’s milieu. The game is completed when the child uses his imagination and pencil to create a butterfly-making machine. The newly minted creatures attach themselves to the dinosaur and—voilà!—carry it away. A parent’s section includes downloadable worksheets of the created images. A trailer is available. VERDICT This artistic adventure features intuitive play that will stimulate the imagination while exercising kids’ fine-motor skills.—Cindy Wall, Southington Public Library, CT

Screen shot of Artie of Artie’s Magic Pencil (Minilab Studios)

For additional app reviews, visit School Library Journal’s dedicated app webpage.



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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