Being Benny

Being Benny
by Artgig Studio

On the next rainy day when you have feelings of helplessness, sleepiness and boredom open up your iPhone or iPad device and download Being Benny. Written and illustrated by Dan Wetzel, Being Benny lets your child’s imagination run wild as they read the theme song to “Ode to Benny.”  If your child could be or do anything what would it be?  Wonderfully narrated by two people, grandpa and our main character, Benny.  Benny is an adorable, spiky haired, blonde, young boy that closes his eyes one rainy day to imagine his life as other objects or things. For example, he imagines himself as a tree, an apple pie, or even a dinosaur. Being Benny incorporates the use of rhyme, repetition, problem solving and the development of ones self-esteem.  Because of those things, Applicable2U is excited to share how this book can be read independently, with a parent and even at school.  This interactive story applies to many, whether you are in a preschool or early elementary setting. As you grow, so does your  imagination and how you will interpret this book.

While previewing on the iPad, the reader will notice how the artist used very bright, colorful and almost 3D like illustrations. In addition, the writer and developer have incorporated the use of very easy to read words, and some sound effects.  Like most interactive stories, Being Benny integrates the use of two options of reading: Read to Me, Please or I’ll Read It.  Each return visit with this application will be different depending on your reading skills. For the first time reader, although the narrator is present, we still recommend that the best experience is alongside a parent.  As you prepare to head off to sleep, incorporate this story into your bed time routine.  It might actually spark some very interesting dreams!  Through the guidance of the narrator to read and the parent to ask predicting and personal questions, you could create a whole new book with your own imagination.

How might a teacher use their iPad and incorporate Being Benny in the classroom?  At the beginning of the school year, as new faces interact, or old friends bond together, a teacher might read this interactive book as a way to show each others differences and to build individual self-esteem. This guided reading time would be a great way to encourage new and old friendships.  Through a whole group discussion, simply connect your iPad device to a large screen through the use of a projector and begin reading this story.  At the completion of the first few pages, discuss what things your students do on a rainy day.  Ask questions like: What does it mean when the narrator says, “He started to think of what a Benny could be.”  As you progress through the story ask your students what they would be.  At the completion of the story, have students begin to storyboard their own “Being _____” book.  As individual books are completed, have students read and share their creations to the whole group.  By initially modeling Being Benny via mobile learning and then extending that story into a creative project, your students imaginations come out in a whole new way.  What an amazing way to celebrate each others differences and imaginations. Without even realizing it, Being Benny can be turned into a positive learning community project at the beginning of every new school year.

As you can see, this interactive book can apply to you as a parent and as an educator.  In the end, Benny realizes that if he were perfect, then he just wouldn’t be Benny.  Being Benny tries to share with their readers the lesson that you are important and special no matter what you look or what you want to be.  If you would like to learn more about Purple Sneakers Studio, be sure to visit their website here.  If you are looking to teach your child(ren) or students a valuable lesson, then download Being Benny today from your iTunes library here.

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