As is School Library Journal’s practice, we sometimes offer our readers composite reviews of series titles. In this review, Cindy Wall takes a look at three apps featuring Marc Brown’s Arthur. The apps are part of the projected nine-title “Arthur Reads” series produced by Marc Brown Studios and ScrollMotion Kids.
Titles: Arthur’s Pet Business; Arthur’s Tooth; Arthur Writes a Story
Author: Marc Brown
Developers: Marc Brown Studios and ScrollMotion Kids
Platforms: iOS, requires 4.0 or later
Series: Arthur Reads
Price: $2.99 each
PreS-Gr 2-Arthur the beloved aardvark, his family, friends, and, yes, even mean Francine, face the hopes and heartaches of growing up in this trio of stories. In Pet Business (1990), Arthur proves he is responsible enough to own a dog by starting his own pet-sitting service, but feels less than accomplished when he discovers that all of his friends have already lost some baby teeth (he hasn’t), in Arthur’s Tooth (1985). In Arthur Writes a Story (1996), the aardvark learns that the best stories are those told from the heart. The humor and upbeat endings of the originals shine through in the digital books.
Each app features the same functionality. Viewers are greeted with a choice to “READ” or “PLAY.” Readers may tap the book icon on any page and customize their reading/listening experience by turning on or off autoplay, which features the skilled narration of Marc Brown, automatic page turning, and a text that is highlighted as it is spoken. Automatic zoom is used to focus on areas of the richly detailed illustrations.
The Arthur icon, located on every page, offers children a chance to record and play back their own narration; a second point of entry for the simple, but lackluster coloring and puzzle games; and navigation to the Arthur store, a sure, but possibly not welcome, temptation for Arthur fans. Although the stories still resonate with youngsters, there is not enough interactivity in these apps to truly delight.–Cindy Wall, Southington Library, Southington, CT