Parents' Guide to

Rooftops Interactive Book

By Christy Matte, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 5+

Heavy-handed screen time message with a magical resolution.

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This preachy tale about a boy with too much screen time resolves in a highly unexpected way; instead of learning what great things exist out in the world, he's drawn out by magical phenomena. Rooftops Interactive Book has a message that many parents would like to convey: Too much screen time can keep you from doing what needs to be done and engaging with the world around you. But the first thing parents will likely notice is that Kevin's parents don't seem do anything to help him set healthy habits until he stops doing his homework, at which point they take away the tablet entirely. And since Kevin is young enough that his parents still take him to the park, it's a missed opportunity to model the kind of guidance a parent can give around screens. What happens next is interesting, but ultimately disappointing: He sees strange things happening outside his window (a chimney sneezing, some dancing fairies...) and wants to go outside to investigate. He learns that other kids have seen the same strange things and they all seem to bond over the experience and become friends. We never learn what's behind the magic. The story can't seem to decide whether it's a cautionary tale or a fantasy adventure, and the message of balance gets a bit lost. On a positive note, it's an unexpected twist that will get kids' attention, but the metaphor of how "magical" things can happen outside will get lost on most kids. Rooftops Interactive Book has some cute illustrations and kids may be intrigued by the magical components. Unfortunately, it just doesn't seem to all come together.

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