Thanks to its record of creating kids edu-apps that are consistently tops in creativity and UI/UX, I expect more from Nosy Crow than I might from most iOS developers. With Animal SnApp: Farm, Nosy Crow has found a way to give young readers six different stories that she can “unlock” by matching correctly matching a two-piece puzzle of the animal featured in the story.
Many children will enjoy the silliness created by combinations of dog and pig, lamb and hen, or goat and cow, yet it’s not too hard to get a match, and thus begin listening to one of the six stories that features these animals.
The stories are full of rhyming and alliterative word play. For example, in Portly Pig, the pig says, “I think flowers and trees are yucky. I want to find a place that’s mucky.” Cuddly Cow, Lucky Lamb, and Gobbly Goat and the rest offer similar approaches.
Nosy Crow takes Kurt Vonnegut’s advice that fictional characters are supposed to “want” something. The animals in these books don’t wander aimlessly waiting for a child to tap the hot spots on each page. Each has a clear purpose: the cow is tired, the pig wants to get dirty, etc. It may seem obvious, but it is remarkable how frequently developers forget to put the narrative glue into kids book apps.
Axel Scheffler’s engaging illustrations and the apps use of animation compliment the narrative of each story. The app includes sounds and background music that add to but never overwhelm the story.
Instead of creating a digi-book that might keep kids occupied for all of one minute, Animal SnApp’s unusual navigational structure adds an element of surprise to which story will open for the child, but once that story begins it is sure to capture her attention. While the stories are very simple they still invite the reader in. That sort of connection is found in the best children’s books (just ask anyone whose child was obsessed with Maisy or Scheffler’s own Gruffalo), which is why they endure.
A child can choose to read by myself, with a choice of how long the text will stay on the screen (short, medium, or long) or she can choose read and play mode to have the story narrated. The app gently prompts readers when it’s time to tap the blue arrow to turn the page.Word highlighting can be toggled on or off in the settings. Hint: if you need to adjust the settings or return to the home screen tap the home icon twice (once to wake it up and once to activate it).
Download Animal SnApp: Farm for iPhone/iPod touch and iPad from the App Store for $3.99.
What I liked: While Animal SnApp: Farm is playful and interactive, these bells and whistles never come at the expense of the story. Hopefully its the first in a series of similar SnApps from Nosy Crow.
What I didn’t like: Nothing!
To buy or not to buy: Animal-loving pre-schoolers will adore playing AnimalSnApp: Farm, and parents will likely enjoy the stories even after countless re-readings. The app includes six lengthy stories, which makes it a great value.
- App Name: Animal SnApp: Farm
- Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
- Category: Books
- Developer: Nosy Crow
- Price: $3.99