Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Book-App Review: The Prairie that Nature Built

THE PRAIRIE THAT NATURE BUILT by Marybeth Lorbiecki tells the story of life on the prairie. Readers can enjoy the book four different ways including as a paper book, e-book, app, and augmented reality experience.
The paper version contains the engaging nature story followed by back matter that includes additional information and activities. The nonfiction narrative includes visually interesting cross sections that reveal the world both above and below the ground. Cathy Morrison’s illustrations are beautiful as well as technically correct making this an excellent book for use in science activities.
A free pop-up app for both Apple and Android is available that uses augmented reality to provide a computer-enhanced view of the book. Tablet and smartphone users can watch their paper book “come alive” as 3D images pop-up as the book is read aloud.
The Apple and Android app provides options to “Read to Me” or “Read to Myself”. The read-aloud option highlights each word in red. Each page contains animation to enhance the experience and focus attention on different elements on the screen. The book switches between landscape and portrait layouts making it fun for readers to tilt and turn their device every few pages. The app includes a fun vocabulary matching game and a useful prairie primer with additional information.
The book is chuck-full of scientific information related to the flora and fauna native to the prairie. Use this book as a kickoff for a science project. Ask each child to select a different page to explore in depth. What are their questions? What resources could they use to explore this topic in-depth?
Librarians can download eight, free activities to go with the book at http://www.dawnpub.com/downloadable_activities_book/. These activities involve students in learning more about the prairie habitat and creating plaster animal tracks, bird feeders, and nature games.
Published by Dawn Publications.