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Category Archives: Books

IF I RAN THE ZOO – DR. SEUSS [IOS] – REVIEW (82%)

If I ran the Zoo – Dr. Seuss is an e-book / audio book and is published by Oceanhouse Media.

Young Gerald, not impressed by the animals at the zoo, conjures up plans for “New Zoo, McGrew Zoo.” Join him on a globe-trotting safari in search of the world’s most unusual creatures (with equally unusual habits). A wonderful tribute to a child’s imagination, this parade of creatures begins with a ten-footed lion and escalates to more and more imaginative (and bizarre) creatures, such as the Fizza-ma-Wizza-ma-Dill, “the world’s biggest bird from the island of Gwark, who eats only pine trees, and spits out the bark.” Come along and discover a zoo like you’ve never imagined, through the eyes of Gerald McGrew and the great Dr. Seuss!

This book gives you the options of reading the book yourself, having the read to you (and you control the page turns) or the complete book read to you automatically.

The book offers the usual tapping on images and words, for the item to be read back to you.

The story is about a young boy and what not so “small” changes he would make to the Zoo.

Dr. Seuss delights as always and if you are a fan of his books, this application is another fine addition to your collection with many creatures to laugh at.

This book is a fun book for both children and adults alike.

The story is well read in audio book mode.

On the upside:

  • Well read.
  • All the usual Dr. Seuss rhymes and wacky animals.
  • Universal for iPad and iPhone.

On the downside:

  • No page selector to jump into the story to your favorite bit of the book.

Overall, this is another excellent book for Oceanhouse Media. The story is sizeable and has a reasonable price for the Dr. Seuss book. For fans of Dr. Seuss this really is a must have as it has dozens of wacky creatures from beginning to end.

Rating: 82%

Size: 19.7 MB

Price (at time of review): £1.99

Link: If I Ran the Zoo – Dr. Seuss – Oceanhouse Media

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DOCTOR WHO ENCYCLOPEDIA [IPAD] – REVIEW (74%)

Doctor Who Encyclopedia is an interactive book and is published by Random House.

Explore and search over three thousand entries by episode, character, place or object and see the connections that link them together. Open interactive ‘portals’ for the Doctor, Amy, Rory, River and other major characters. Build an A-Z of your favourites, explore galleries of imagery and preview and buy must-have episodes.

This application currently offers information on the Eleventh doctor (the two series released to date), information on the 9th and 10th doctors can be purchased in app. The 9th doctor can currently be purchased for 69p  (was £4.99 on release, which many people complained about as it is only one series of information.)

The encyclopedia can be explored in many different ways with several portal pages, images, friends and places being just some of the the options available.

The application has a great visual look, but unfortunately, you soon find this is still over substance, as you will find it hard to find some information and easy to find others.

Most of the information lacks images or sound, and the text is given in a small scrollable area, rather than making more use of the large screen of the iPad. On one section I called up a pop up box appeared with only enough space for six or so words per line, and a scroll bar that went on for miles.

There are nice images and galleries in the application and these are nicely done with the option to expand the image to almost full screen.

Sound in the application is lacking, with the odd effect or Tardis noise, you will find yourself reading the application in silence.

The main issue I had with the application was the navigation of the information, I have used hundreds of application over the years and this has to be one of the worst “encyclopedia” designs I have seen. The search often does not work when you enter it, you select an option and sometimes wait not knowing if it is going to go a page or not. There are portals for some of the companions, but these do not include all the information on that companion, there is more hidden elsewhere in the app. For example, you need to search which episodes River song appears in, this should have been within her portal.

On the upside:

  • Lots of Doctor Who information.
  • Some great artwork and images.
  • A searchable database of information.

On the downside:

  • Crashes a fair bit.
  • User Interface is not great, could be a lot easier to navigate.
  • Search does not work as expected at times, like coming back with no results on a search for “Dalek”

Overall, this is an interesting application which could have been great. I am a big Doctor Who fan and would have been very happy if this application fulfilled half the promised features. However, it all seems a little half baked at times. Some of the stuff is great, but other sections are just lacking in images, sounds and content. For something claiming to be the “ultimate series companion” it is incomplete and badly put together. Fans will more than likely give it a break, but will find themselves disappointed rather than excited.

Rating: 74%

Size: 99.4 MB

Price (at time of review): £2.49 (With in-app purchases for additional doctors)

Link: Doctor Who Encyclopedia – Random House

 

FROBBLES [IOS] – REVIEW (80%)

Frobbles is an interactive book with games and activities and is published by Top That!.

“Join little characters learning BIG lessons about growing up in this positive attitude app for preschoolers! Packed with interactive features, animated stories, celebrity narration and a whole host of fun characters, The Froobles app is an essential download for your child’s digital library.”

This application currently offers four books tin the library, the first book is Free and the others can be purchased for £2.99. Froobles reminded me a little of Disney’s Read-Along books, which is not a bad thing as they have generally been good application.

Each of the books offer several interactive options. You can select an animated cartoon, the e-book, make a “movie”, painting and six games.

This book / cartoon is nicely done with a nice animated story or a story book you read to your child. it is a nice story which lasts around five or so minutes. It is nicely read by Johnny Vaughan.

The make a movie, basically is a sticker book with limited stickers and backgrounds and then you can record your voice over it. A bit basic, but may get improved on over time.

Painting is your usual drawing book with some of the backgrounds etc available.

The six games are really from pre-school children doing matching games and spellings.

My daughter who is four loved the book and has played with it several times, my son who is almost eight liked it, but the activities were a bit too young for him to really enjoy.

On the upside:

  • Universal for iPad and iPhone.
  • Nicely drawn and some nice use of animation.
  • Looks of things to see and do.

On the downside:

  • Lacks a little interaction of the book side of things.
  • I did have the app crash on me a few times in the inactive games.

Overall, this is a very nice interactive application. You are not just getting an e-book you are getting a cartoon, colouring book and pre-shool games. It is well worth the download for the free book alone. If you child love the free book then you may spend the £2.99 on the other books available. It is a considered purchase as the e-books are also available on the iBook Store for £1.49 each, so if your kids like the books and no to keen on the activities it may be worth picking them up on iBooks instead.

Rating: 80%

Size: 99.4 MB

Price (at time of review): Free (With in-app purchases for additional books)

Link: Froobles – Top That!

 

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS [IOS] – REVIEW (80%)

The Night Before Christmas – Enchanted Tales is an e-book / audio book and is published by Oceanhouse Media.

In a tiny, snow-dusted village, the Christmas season was just getting started. Little orphan Jeffrey was working in a toy factory for a miserly old meanie named Mr. Reeks. In an effort to bring joy to the town’s other orphans, he began repairing discarded toys from the factory and delivering them to the orphanage at night. When old Mr. Reeks found out someone was stealing his broken toys, he flew into a rage and vowed to catch the culprit with a Christmas Eve trap! With the evil Mr. Reeks plotting against them, Jeffrey and Paws are hoping for a Christmas miracle!

This book gives you the options of reading the book yourself, having the read to you (and you control the page turns) or the complete book read to you automatically. The application also adds extra interaction by touching something on the screen and a sound effect triggering.

The book is based on film by Golden Film from 1994. So many of the picture and sounds are pulled from the film. This is good and bad in some ways. It means that there are several voice actors, a high quality song on the menu screen and nice artwork. However, it does mean that artwork is a little lacking and the interaction of the book is reduced as a result.

The christmas tale itself is reasonable and fairly enjoyable.

This book is good for adults or kids alike.

On the upside:

  • Interactive with the book adds to the “re-readability” of the book.
  • Universal for iPad and iPhone.

On the downside:

  • No page selector to jump into the story to your favorite bit of the book.

Overall, this is a very good book. The introductory price in time for Christmas of 69p makes it well worth picking up in time for Christmas. It may not be the best 

Rating: 80%

Size: 18.4 MB

Price (at time of review): £0.69

Link: The Night Before Christmas – Enchanted Tales – Oceanhouse Media

 
 

PICTURE ME CHRISTMAS CUTIE [IOS] – REVIEW (80%)

Picture Me Christmas Cutie is an e-book / audio book released by Oceanhouse Media.

“Add your child’s photo to the first ever personalized omBook and they can star in their own holiday dress-up story! Take a picture or add photos from your library and voila, your child instantly adorns cute holiday costumes like Santa’s helpful elf, Christmas teddy bear, jolly snowman, cuddly mouse, or playful reindeer. Children will enjoy the playful sounds and interactive objects on every page as they flip through the story and see themselves in costume!”

This application allows you to add pictures of your child into the book so they can see themselves dressed in costumes. This means it will take you a few minutes to set up as you add the photos from the camera roll and then position them. The application crashed for me as I left the page, but all the photos remained as I reopened the app.

The story is quite short and basic, this is accounted for in the price and really it is just for the way factor for the kids seeing themselves in the images with the other cute babies.

This book is similar in design to Dr Seuss Solar System book, which gives the arrows for navigating through the pages. You also have the ability of moving some items on the screen, however, the snap back into place when you let them go.

The book was a little more lacking on the interaction than the other book, but not greatly so, most items out move, zoom or have sound effects.

My daughter who is four loved seeing your pictures in the book and laughed to see herself as a reindeer. My son (who is 8) liked the book, but was not so taken with it as my daughter.

The images and sound effects are all well done, and the photos do not look stuck on like other similar applications.

On the upside:

  • Fun for young children seeing themselves in a book.
  • Lots to interact with.
  • Great for Christmas.

On the downside:

  • No page selector to jump into the story to your favorite bit.
  • The “book” is a little on the short side.

Overall, this book is a great little Christmas book. If you can set it up before you kids see it they will be blown away by seeing themselves in there. The book is short and purely for Christmas, but this is reflected in the 69p price tag. Well worth greating in you have younger children.

Rating: 80%

Size: 11.5 MB

Price (at time of review): £0.69

Link: Picture Me Christmas Cutie – Oceanhouse Media