For the gamers and geeks of the world with little ones, we want to expose our children to the things we love the most in hopes that they will share your love, or at least be knowledgeable, about the things we love as self-proclaimed geeks. Sitting them down to watch The Walking Dead or play Dungeons & Dragons, however, may not be the best way to expose the little geeklings in training. That is why Diana Pressnell of G33k & Co worked to collect some of the best nursery rhymes for kids and re-theme them to acclimate the readers to the ways of geek in The SurReal Mother Geek, a collection of stories available in print and in a mobile app.
This review will cover both the physical book and the app that is currently available for iOS.
The SurReal Mother Geek is a hardbound book framed in a purple and teal checkered pattern that contains 15 different geek-themed rhymes. Diana Pressnell has re-rolled some classic nursery rhymes with themes such as science fiction, anime, end-of-the-world planning, zombies, steampunk, fantasy, tabletop gaming, and so much more. It is illustrated by Brett Hatfield, known for his extensive portfolio of characters on sketchcards.
A quick intro in the beginning lets readers know that there are hidden eggs in every story drawing, and once they are found, they can look up the egg’s story in the back of the book for more information about that genre. They explain what zombies are, what Cthulhu is, how games work, history behind Jack and Jill, and much more.
The illustration are bright and colorful and fit very well with their stories. The zombies are fun, Cthulhu cultists are crazy, and adventurers are geared up for their journeys! Each story has a “Read like _____” above the title, giving adults and older kids the rhyme each story is based off of. Stories are read like Mary Had A Little Lamb, All Around The Mulberry Bush, Jack and Jill, Sing a Song of Sixpence, and more. The twist on words keeps adults focused and are sure to make you smile while reading!
The Mobile App
Available on the iOS/iPad now and hopefully coming soon to Android, the SurReal Mother Geek mobile app features all the stories and pictures found in the book, but with some interactive twists. A swipe of the screen will take you to the next story as would be expected with a book app. The illustrations in the app are interactive. For example, in the photo below, pressing the drawings on the wall above the kids’ lockers will make sounds of the items drawn on them. The egg feature comes with the app as well. When you find it and press it, the text on the right changes to the extra information about the history behind the story or the genre being discussed on that page.
Parents and kids can either read the story themselves, or have options to help learn to read. The speech bubble button at the top right reads the story for little ones, including singing the rhymes as they were written. Alternatively, if your child is learning to read and needs help with words here and there, a tap of the word will read that word aloud to assist your young reader.
Kid Tested, Mother Approved
I heard about this book early in the year and anxiously awaited printing, and I purchased the hard copy at Gen Con 2013. This is one of my son’s favorite books, as he likes the pictures and my (awful attempts at) singing along to the rhymes. When it is story time, he often grabs this off the shelf and excitedly brings it to our reading chair. i have fun with it because I am interested in the stories that lie within, but seeing his eyes light up during key points in a story or as he tries to repeat a word makes it all the better. Listening to a toddler try to say “geekling” is much more entertaining than you might think!
The app holds the same stories but with a few more surprises. We enjoyed playing with both reading the stories as the app read it to us, or by selecting individual words to read. My son enjoys the app for its interactive qualities, but loves the physical book just the same, and is happy with either for a quick story or for a series of pages before bedtime.
What I love the most is that the rhymes are not forced. The SurReal Mother Geek was well written and it is clear that a lot of time went into the writing to ensure the best approach to each genre of geekdom. I enjoy going through this book and app with my son just as much as he does – maybe even more! Mother Geek herself riding a zombie goose on the front just sweetens the deal.
If you’re a parent wanting a fun bonding experience with your child while introducing them to the world of all things geek, I would direct you towards this wonderful book. More books are rumored to be on the way so that you can extend your Mother Geek collection. You can put the physical copy in your little one’s hands for $19.99, or download the iOS app for $1.99.
Review copy of the iOS mobile app for The SurReal Mother Geek was provided by Diana Pressnell of G33k & Co.