As any parent who has ever been recruited to play with a Tonka dump truck in a sandbox for hours knows, most children go through a phase where they are fascinated by construction vehicles. Bizzy Bear Builds a House feeds this interest by putting the child behind the wheel of a digger, a front-end loader, and a crane when Bizzy Bear visits a construction site.
Bizzy Bear Builds a House is Bizzy Bear’s second iOS app, and like its predecessor, and all of UK developer Nosy Crow‘s offerings, the UI is clean and colorful. The app is based on a print series of the same name, which is illustrated by Benji Davies. Reminiscent of Richard Scarry‘s Busytown series and Lucy Cousins’ Maisy stories, Bizzy Bear shows animals doing jobs that usually only grown-ups are allowed to do. This fanciful twist is makes the story more relatable to young readers, and is guaranteed to keep your child’s attention.
When the reader opens Bizzy Bear she can choose to “Read and Play” or “Read to Myself.” In Read and Play the entire story is narrated, with word highlights, for the reader. Word highlighting can be turned off in settings if desired. If the reader chooses to “Read to Myself” she may choose how long the text remains on the screen in each scene.
The reader is gently prompted to interact with the characters when a small blue dot appears on the screen. Nearly all of the interactive elements move the story forward. A sound prompt lets kids know it is time to turn the page, but if the reader chooses to remain on a given page a bit longer the app allows her to do so.
The reader follows a set of simple directions throughout the app, yet while there is clearly a right way to do things, the reader isn’t frustrated or penalized for doing it wrong.
Download Bizzy Bear Builds a House from the App Store for $3.99.
What I liked: The app displays remarkable attention to detail, yet remains simple enough that it will not overwhelm or confuse its audience. Since Bizzy Bear is universal, the reader isn’t limited to enjoying it on just one platform.
What I didn’t like: When the dog is painting the fence white, it is difficult to paint the entire fence without accidentally turning the page. Some children who are intent on completing the task may find this frustrating.
To buy or not to buy: Bizzy Bear Builds a House is a great addition to any pre-schooler’s iOS library. It will appeal not only to construction sites’ youngest fans, but to their parents as well. To quote the app, “A building site is a very noisy place,” but Bizzy Bear Builds a House will give you and your child a few moments of much-needed quiet.
- App Name: Bizzy Bear Builds a House
- Version Reviewed: 1.0
- Category: Books
- Developer: Nosy Crow
- Price: $3.99