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Review: ‘A Duck in New York City’ for the iPad

When reviewing apps, I ask School Library Journal‘s reviewers to consider many points: storyline, narration, visuals, audio, enhancements, and navigation, among others. Today’s reviewer, Nicole Politi, posed a question to me. When readers hear the word app, do they assume a certain amount of interactivity? Do you? One of my favorite apps for the picture-book crowd, Piret Rand’s Emma Loves Pink (WingedChariot) has animations, but no interactivity.

Screen shot from 'A Duck in New York City' (Fil & Julie) Secret Mountain

Title: A Duck in New York City
Connie Kaldor 
Music by:
Connie Kaldor
Illustrated by:
Fil & Julie 
Published by:
The Secret Mountain
Developed by:
Les productions Folle Avoine
Designed by: Haus Design 
iOS, requires 4.3 or later 

PreS-Gr 1-Heedless of the naysaying creatures who share his pond, a prairie duck follows his heart and sets out for New York City to dance onstage. A friendly truck driver named Big Betty aids and encourages him. When the duck arrives in the Big Apple, the mayor comes out to greet him and asks him to perform his now-famous steps on Broadway.

Kaldor’s heartwarming story, originally published by The Secret Mountain (2007) with an accompanying CD, features bright illustrations splashed in yellow and orange tones. Duck is best enjoyed as a full-screen film. Viewers can read the story or listen to it as the text is underlined, but the screen is smaller in these modes, and the underlining of the small print creates a cluttered look. In the “read myself'” mode, the print can be enlarged for easier viewing.

It’s animation all the way in this show-tune app; there are no interactive elements. Added features include Connie Kaldor singing “A Duck in New York City” and a karaoke version of the song that viewers can sing.  A version in French, Un canard à New York, is also available. —Nicole Politi, Ocean County Library, Toms River, NJ


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