Alyssa Capucilli‘s Biscuit series has been teaching kids to read since the Little Yellow Puppy debuted in 1996. Biscuit’s latest incarnation, Biscuit’s Valentine’s Day, brings the story of how Biscuit and the little girl who owns him celebrate Valentine’s Day from the printed page to iOS as a universal app for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.
In Biscuit’s Valentine’s Day the puppy and his owner make and deliver Valentines to their animal and human friends. As an iOS app, Biscuit’s Valentine’s Day maintains the simple text and story line from the print version, which is perfect for developing readers, while offering the interactivity and narration readers expect from a children’s book app.
Readers can choose from three modes: autoplay, read to me, and read to myself. Autoplay requires the least input from the user, so it may be the best choice for pre-readers who use the app. At the end of the story, children can choose from short games including a coloring book, sticker book, memory game, and puzzle.
Don’t forget to look for the hidden bone on each page, but users won’t find them in the Auto Play mode. Tap on all 20 of the bones to receive a special message at the end of the story.
Download Biscuit’s Valentine’s Day from the App Store for $2.99.
What I liked: Biscuit’s Valentine’s Day strikes the perfect balance between simplicity and iOS integration. None of the app’s interactive elements will distract new readers from the story, yet pages turn seamlessly and the limited amount of interactivity in the story works well. The menu is constructed so that a young child can navigate through the app without assistance.
What I didn’t like: Some children might become frustrated trying to find all of Biscuit’s bones. The app sometimes turns the pages while the user is trying to tap on a bone. Once the reader get to the end of the story, he learns how many bones he missed. The app does not retain which bones the reader has already found, however, so it is necessary to go back through the entire story and tap every bone again to capture them all.
To buy or not to buy: Biscuit’s Valentine’s Day is a charming addition to the digital library of any family with a developing reader. Children who are already fluent readers may find the story less interesting, so, much like its printed counterparts, the story may be well-loved but soon outgrown.
- App Name: Biscuit’s Valentine’s Day
- Version Reviewed: 1.0
- Category: Books
- Developer: Zuuka, HarperCollins
- Price: $2.99