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Care for Our World app review

care for our world menuCare for Our World (Sunbreak Games, March 2017; iOS only), the app based on a 2012 picture book written by Karen Robbins and illustrated by Alexandra Ball (Compendium Inc.), seeks “to inspire children to care for the earth they call home: a timely reminder of the responsibility every generation shares to nurture and respect life in all its many forms.”

The main menu offers four options: “Read,” “Color,” “Create,” and “Learn.” Each section of the app incorporates Ball’s colorful, stylized illustrations, accompanied by soothing music and sounds (which can be turned off). Select “Read” (with optional autoplay and narration) to access the narrative, which begins, “Care for our world, for you and for me, / For all living things from mountain to sea.”On subsequent pages, rhyming text mentions specific living things we should “care for,” including plants and animals from a range of different environments. The text has a clear environmentalist message without being preachy, and the rhymes aren’t too treacly when paired with the fluid animation of Ball’s appealing art. Tap an animal to see a brief animation and hear its sound, as well as see its name. Text highlighting accompanies the calm male narrator’s reading (when narration is turned off for independent reading, tap to hear words and animals’ names read aloud).

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The three remaining sections supplement the simple picture-book adaptation. The “Color” feature contains coloring book pages of scenes from the book. Choose one of four black-and-white background pages and then, using the color palette at the bottom of the screen, select either “Fill” (denoted with a paint-bucket icon) or “Draw” (a paintbrush symbol) to paint your picture. Save it in the Art Gallery, which can hold up to eighteen pictures.

In “Create,” select one of four “Habitat Playsets” and drag up to twenty-five animals (not necessarily native to that environment) into the scene from a menu at the bottom of the screen. You can rotate, flip, and scale the animated animals. When you’re finished, you can save a picture of your customized habitat in the Art Gallery.

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Finally, the “Learn” section provides an Animal Encyclopedia with entries for sixteen animals mentioned in the text. Tap on an animal’s illustration to see a few simple facts about it and four high-quality photos of the featured animal in the wild.

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The app is easy to navigate with arrow icons and a clear screen-selection menu. The various reading options, educational components, and interactivity ensure that this is an app children can enjoy long-term. The positive text, peaceable-kingdom illustrations, and interesting information may help inspire them to become good stewards of the earth.

Available for iPad (requires iOS 8.0 or later); $2.99. Recommended for preschool and primary users.

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Cynthia K. Ritter About Cynthia K. Ritter

Cynthia K. Ritter is associate editor of The Horn Book Guide. She earned a master's degree in children's literature from Simmons College.

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