To follow up on last week’s blog of Recently Released Preschool Apps to Check Out, I found some delightful apps for primary school age, and I’m really excited to share them with you.
Tim and Tom – free for iPad
There’s a gorgeous watercolour-like style about the illustrations in this book app, the first of which in the series is titled “Good Morning Bangoo!” To boot, there’s an amazingly fun sound design to round off the package and users can also choose between English, French and Spanish.
The start button is hidden, but it’s that kind of exploration which is the key to experiencing this app. Pressing all over the start menu will eventually end up in zooming into the world of Bangoo. Users can toggle the text on and off so that it’s neatly hidden in a tab at the top right of the screen.
Good Morning Bangoo! is colourful and wonderfully interactive, so that users are actually helping to drive the story forward. Users have to do things like play the musical trees, and water a magical plant with a raincloud to trigger the next paragraphs of the story. Then, scenes alternate between zooming and flipping up so that even after a loading screen, users are still captivated by whatever happens next.
The app description lists this app being for kids aged 3-7, but for older kids, it’s a bit annoying when you actually do want to read the text, because it blocks other things in the scene. Depending on who uses it, this may make this app more appropriate for preschoolers who might not be as into the text as they are the pictures. For older kids, it might be great for them to watch the story and hear it in a different language.
It’s a short app but incredibly delightful. I’m very much looking forward to the next one in this series.
JM Untying the Knot – free for iOS
This app is a lot more linear for my liking (as in, it’s just a story and there is no interactivity), but the writing and narration are very well done. The story involves two giraffes who get themselves into a knot, then journey through the jungle to try and undo it.
I like this app for several reasons. Firstly, it’s a great way to introduce kids to an African story produced by South Africans. Secondly, there’s a visual encyclopedia of characters in the story with short descriptions of the actual animals. Thirdly, it’s bright and colourful, captivating from the get go.
There are several other story apps available from Pixelet Mobile Publishing like JM Abel with no Navel and JM The Naughty Eagle Chicks, but they were not tested for this post. In-app access is currently not working, but could be fixed with an imminent update. For now, find them in the App Store.
Hookitty-Tookitty-Tah – free for iPad
This is another very linear app, but I like that the illustrations are interesting and the narration quite good. Hookitty-Tookitty-Tah is the story of a small town trying to get rid of a ferocious (then demanding) dragon with sweets. The interactivity is incredibly basic (more like existent) but the long-form story, in rhyming couplets, is definitely entertaining.
Considering that the Panamanian publisher looks like it actually makes its main sales in the Spanish print edition of this book, it’s definitely worth checking out the free app.
More app reviews are coming soon! If you’re looking for a particular group of apps (e.g. great advanced English literacy apps for the classroom), please get in touch with me through email@example.com or you can tweet to me directly through @DebChantson.