K.I.W.i. Storybooks is now available in minis! From the big panels that we have come to love for their sheer awe-inspiring detail and wonderment, are now coming out with a desktop junior version so that kids can explore the worlds on the go. The news is simply exciting for itinerant teachers, librarians, therapists, or parents, as now the panels have all of the content available in a portable format. There are 9 different desktop theme sets, the same as with the large screens. Each set has two scenes one on the front and back related to the topic. There are three, three panel sets Ecosystems – including the rainforest and desert, Fire Safety, and a City/Farm set for $12.95. The five-panel sets content cover the Ocean/Coral Reef, Space Station, the Old West, Castles/Medieval times, a TV station, and my favorite – Dinosaurs for $14.95. Each K.I.W.i Jr. playset comes with an interactive app that contains search and find activities, puzzles, movie making fun, and lots of cool informational facts. The one additional item that topples the package over the top is the interactive figures that children can place in the scenes. There is a space to place a picture of a child's face in the action figure making it more personal…and that means increased investment in learning about the content. Kids that may not be able to explore these worlds because of health, hospitalization, or other reasons, can now come up close and personal with the denizens of the farm or tropical rainforest in beautifully rendered detail by Roxie Munro. Think of a kid confined to a hospital, residential center, or due to unforeseen circumstances that is unable to go outside or visit a screening of the large panel sets, let alone take a road trip because of possible infection risk, allergies, or other obstacles. What a welcome and enticing adventure that would be, to escape into either a purely imaginative experience or to learn about another time or place. I have used both the large paneled K.I.W.i. frames and the new smaller sized junior model in play and at events. I cannot say enough how much each can inspire kids to become interested in the real “nonfiction” world around them. Roxie Munro is a genius with engaging kids through her illustrations and narratives with her non-fiction books. Pairing one her related books with the panels would allow a warm up to using the app and getting the most out of the thematic scenes by exposing kids to the material. Suggestions for other games and activities will be a follow-up to this review in regards to what has been successful to kids outside of the targeted age range. The beautiful aspect to the panels and the Junior K.I.W.i. sets are the ability to upgrade or downgrade the content and activities based on a child’s capabilities and needs. In sum, these are awe inspiring beautifully rendered detailed sets that one may never experience in everyday life. Although, I may never visit the Jurassic period or go to the Rainforests, K.I.W.i. Storybooks will take me there in such incredible detail. The app world has become much more fun and engaging because of the vision of one Mom – Connie Melashenko’s wish to please her child with something wondrous and amazing. That granted wish has led us all on an amazing journey into these incredible worlds. K.I.W.i. Storybooks will always be a Top Pick at TWA, and an adventure that's up and ready to happen.
Written by Jo Booth
Jo Booth has been an Occupational Therapist for over 30 years and currently works in Pediatrics with early intervention. She sees kids newly diagnosed on the spectrum as well as medically fragile kids. She loves to move, explore and play every day; so that “her kids” grow up to be healthy independent learners.
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