Brave Rooney by Gerry Renert is an iOS app that can be used on both the Apple iPhone and the iPad, but since I don’t have any of those devices (someone please pick me to win an iPad already!), my review is based on the story itself, which the author was kind enough to send me in .pdf format. This is a terrific short story about Rooney, a little boy who lives on the border of MajesticVille and NormalVille. Quite literally, in fact, the line between the two towns runs straight down the middle of his house. An unmentioned authority decides that, this year, Rooney is going to be attending school in MajesticVille, which is filled with superheroes. Rooney, however, isn’t technically a superhero. He can’t fly, lift buildings, or see through metal. He’s just Rooney.
Like all kids, Rooney really wants to fit in at school. He tries to be brave and strong, but ends up injured. For the first time in MajesticVille’s history, the school actually had to hire a nurse, and Rooney did a fine job of keeping her employed. Rooney is feeling kind of down about all of this. It’s hard to be “normal” in a room full of extraordinary kids. But one day, the principal announces that every kid will have to stand in front of the whole school and recite a poem that they made up. All the superhero kids are terrified by the idea of speaking in public, and no one is brave enough to volunteer to go first. No one, that is, except Rooney. He proudly stands in front of the school and recites his poem. Everyone is so impressed by his bravery that he becomes Brave Rooney.
The tale of Brave Rooney blends children’s natural love of superheroes with a very important lesson- that there is a little bit of super powers in each and every one of us. Maybe Rooney couldn’t fly or lift buildings with his pinky, but he could do something that no one else could- he could put himself out there and go first at reading his poem in front of everyone. As someone who can’t stand speaking in public, I’d say that is one major super power!
The app features animations, music, sound and other interactive activities to go along with the story. It also includes a handy dandy settings screen that prevents kids from accidentally turning the pages. At just $2.99, Brave Rooney is definitely worth checking out.