A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Kids can learn the words to poems from some of the most beloved poets of all time. Whether it's Paul Laurence Dunbar's "Ships That Pass in the Night," Edgar Allen Poe's "Eldorado," or Shakespeare's "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?," kids will hear, see, and get the chance to record themselves reciting these classics. As they hear them, kids will begin to understand the meanings of the poems and start to recognize familiar elements of poetry. The memorization tools are quite sound, but curious kids could benefit from a way to analyze and better understand the poems they're putting to memory.
Ease of Play
The app is relatively straightforward but could benefit from a tutorial to help kids maximize its features.
Violence & Scariness
Some poems, both free and purchased, may reference minor acts of violence or violent emotions.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Poems may reference love and sexual thoughts and feelings.
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Poems may feature words used in questionable contexts or with questionable connotations.
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Products & Purchases
The Penguin logo appears prominently on the main screen. Encourages purchase of additional poems and poem packages.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Poems may reference drinking, drugs, and smoking directly and indirectly.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Poems by Heart focuses on memorizing and reciting classic poems. Although a few poems come free with the app, kids will have to purchase additional poems either individually or in sets. Before your kids buy a poem, you may want to make sure it fits the occasion and level. As kids begin to memorize poems, you also can encourage them to practice alone as well as with someone else around to offer constructive criticism. Although the app offers multiple activities to help kids learn, it fails to recognize whether they can actually recite the poem correctly -- that part may be up to you.
Is It Any Good?
In an age that encourages critical thinking and analysis, poem recitation and memorization may seem like a lost art. However, it may still benefit some kids or serve as an opportunity to help them learn poems to recite for special occasions. The app itself does a good job of helping kids memorize the poems, taking them line by line and increasing in difficulty as they learn more and more of each poem. However, simply memorizing the poem doesn't mean kids will understand it. Adding a brief analysis of each poem or even the opportunity to look up the definitions of words could help kids grasp a poem's meaning, which, in turn, could make memorizing easier.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.