Barefoot World Atlas

NOT AVAILABLE. ea: Nick Crane. illus by David Dean. Touch Press/Barefoot Books/Royal Geographic Society. 2013. iOS, requires 7.0. $1.99 ea. In-app purchases.
K-Gr 5—Barefoot World Atlas delighted users when it was launched in 2012, and they now have a reason to return to app. Five extension packs are available, offered individually as in-app purchases."Great Cities" and "North America" are excellent supplements to the information found in the original app. Colorful icons correspond with 100 cities across the globe in the first extension pack, and the states and provinces in the US and Canada in the second.The Little Mermaid sculpture represents Copenhagen, skyscrapers signify Tokyo, and Boston is home to Fenway Park. The soothing background music changes to reflect the different geographic regions as users swipe the screen to spin the globe. Tapping on an icon will open a live feed of information that includes the time, weather, and population of a particular location.The "Puzzles" are organized by region and continent. The objective for each is the same; tap and drag the shape of the state, province, or nation to the correct location on its corresponding country or continent map. At times, the angle of the globe, coupled with the scrolling menu of shapes at the bottom of the screen, makes viewing a bit difficult, but users may zoom in and out to change the angle. For children who enjoy a bit of competition, there's a timer and score card at the top of the screen.Consider the "International Football" extension a must purchase for soccer fans as the 2014 World Cup approaches. Tapping on uniform icons will reveal information about each of the 209 soccer (football) teams represented. A few facts about the history of the each team is included as well as their current FIFA ranking, trophies won, a photo of the home stadium, scores of recent games and upcoming matches, and the manager's and team member's names. Pictures of both home and away uniforms are provided. A click on the music icon starts the country's national anthem.The "World Art" pack is by far the most impressive addition. One hundred items have been "carefully selected" to show "how different cultures have created and viewed art, from prehistory to the present day." Readers will learn about each object's artist, dimensions, medium, and its current location. Background information on the piece is offered, providing additional context.Throughout, the text poses questions, engaging children as it encourages them to consider an artist's choices. For example, viewers are asked the following about Picasso's "Guernica": "Why do you think the painting is in black, gray and white, rather than in color?"Children will spend endless hours with these entertaining—and educational—additions to the Barefoot World Atlas.—Cathy Potter, Falmouth Elementary School, Falmouth, ME

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