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The New Kid on the Block app review

new kid on the block coverNational Poetry Month is upon us, and this week’s app review comes from renowned children’s poet Jack Prelutsky. The New Kid on the Block (Wanderful Interactive Storybooks, 2013), an interactive poetry app based on Prelutsky’s book of the same name (HarperCollins, 1984), features eighteen poems, a cast of strangely delightful characters, and exuberant animations.

From the home page, a guitar-wielding cartoon Prelutsky acts as a guide to the app, directing users to explore and pick a poem they’d like to read. An aspiring folk singer, he even sings a song about an unfriendly alligator while he waits.

Users can either select “read to me” to hear the poems read aloud — some narrated by Prelutsky himself — or “let me play” to touch-activate each word individually, an excellent feature for emerging readers who can build each sentence or create their own.

new kid on the block menu

Brimming with wit, Prelutsky’s wordplay and outrageous punchlines are enhanced by the silliness of the art, while the animations mirror the sound and sense of his verse. Each noun in the text is paired with an accompanying illustration or animation, while each verb is paired with a visual action.

With subjects ranging from dancing bananas to bloodthirsty vampires, Prelutsky’s familiar poems still manage to capture the joyous absurdity of imagination, while the new interactive features shine a spotlight on the way his language works. This app is perfect for entertainment as well as education.

Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (requires iOS 4.3 or later) at $4.99 and for Mac OSX at $9.99. Recommended for primary and intermediate users.

For another great poetry app, check out my review of Calef Brown’s Dragon, Robot, Gatorbunny: Pick One. Draw It. Make It Funny.

Shara Hardeson About Shara Hardeson

Shara Hardeson is a former editorial assistant at The Horn Book Guide.



  1. Mary Ann Scheuer says:

    Definitely a fun app for poetry month! Like the other Wanderful apps, it’s an adaptation of the Living Books CDs:

    I’m curious how much the content is the same, or if some animations and narration has been added for the more interactive iPad app.

  2. Shara Hardeson Shara Hardeson says:

    Fantastic question, Mary. I’ve actually contacted the folks at Wanderful Interactive Storybooks about this and I’m waiting to hear back. I think it would be fun to take a look at the original CD ROMs, maybe for a little throwback Thursday.

  3. Shara Hardeson Shara Hardeson says:

    I did hear back from Wanderful Interactive Storybooks. They confirmed that the content has not been updated from the original CD-ROM, however, additional features have been added to the app, including parent/teacher settings and a classroom activity guide, which can be found under the OPTIONS menu.

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