Ebook/Book App Review - Animal SnApp Farm

App Developer: Nosy Crow
Category: Books * Farm Animals * Rhyming
Price:  $3.99 - Currently on sale for $ .99 until November 26, 2012
Source: App was provided for a review
Updated: November 7, 2012
Version: 1.0.1
Language: English
Illustrator: Axel Scheffler
Features: Matching Game with Embedded Stories; Read and Play; Read by Myself (with varying levels); Six rhymes narrated by children
Available for iPhone & iPad on iTunes.

Description from Nosy Crow:
Young readers swipe the screen to solve a simple visual puzzle. Then they tap to explore the adventures of Lucky Lamb, Portly Pig, Gobbly Goat, Higgly Hen, Diggedy Dog, Cuddly Cow and friends. With music, animations, and silly sound effects, the first app in the Animal SnApp series delivers hours of fun for children aged 2 and above. Illustrated by Axel Scheffler. This app includes 6 separate stories.

What I like about this app:
Nosy Crow has several book apps that I have purchased and explored.  The Cinderella app and The Three Little Pigs app continue to be favorites of my six year old niece resulting in both maintaining a regular presence on my iPad.  When I was asked to review Animal SnApp Farm, I accepted hoping that this app would feature some of the things I have come to expect from Nosy Crow.

First, I love that Nosy Crow uses children to narrate the stories for their apps.  There are six rhymes featuring six of the farm animals and each is narrated by children. To select a story, the reader matches the top half and the bottom half of the animal by swiping the screen.

The story specifically tied to that animal then begins.  Second, there is a nice balance between text and interaction with each page of the story.  One of the reasons I tend to like this is that some book apps have so many interactive features that younger readers especially get lost in touching the screen to make things work that the story is ignored.  The arrow on the lower right hand corner will flash "blue" after the reader has explored all of the interactive components and it is time to turn the page but you can over ride this by tapping on the arrow twice. 

After about six pages, the story comes to an end and the reader is returned to the screen to swipe the animal parts and begin a new story.  By double clicking on the "home" icon, the reader is taken to the main screen where he or she can change a setting or move from Read & Play to Read by Myself.
Overall, I was pleased with the app and would share it with young children and recommend it to others looking for an animal related book app. 

What I would like to see in future versions:

* Option to turn off music during the Read by Myself feature
*  Help feature on the individual pages of the story in case a reader has a question
* More visible prompt feature if readers have missed an interactive feature

 Official Trailer:

Interview with Axel Scheffler:

For more information about Nosy Crow:
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Ebook App Review: Cinderella

Title: Cinderella
App Developer: Nosy Crow,
Version: 1.0.2 - September 14, 2011
Price: $5.99
Age Level: 3 years old and up
Available on iTunes
Compatible with iPhone, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later.
Features Read and Play * Read to Me * Read by Myself

I have been keeping an eye out for recommended book apps for children and when I saw this come up on a few lists, I had to check it out.  This is a common version of the Cinderella story with no unexpected twists and turns. 

I haven't had a chance to test this one out with a child, but I do look forward to sharing it with a few small friends.

Children have 3 options with this ebook app.

Read to Me-
The read feature provides both a visual and auditory reading experience.  The words are read aloud by the children narrators.  The pages turn automatically.  Children can use the blue arrow to move the story along or pull on a tab which allows them to select a scene.

Read and Play -
By clicking on this choice, the narrators read the story, but children have several places where they may click or interact with the pages.  A blue dot shows up on the center of a character and when you touch this the character has dialogue that s/he speaks.

Read by Myself -
When selecting this option, readers are given one of three choices - short, medium, or long - to indicate how long the text should appear.  However, even in short mode, it was present for a significant amount of time.  Additionally, the little blue dot that appears when a character has words to say is active in this mode. 

What I liked about this ebook app:
Illustrations - The illustrations were fun, bright, and entertaining.

Narrators - The story is narrated by children narrators which I really enjoyed.

Ease of use - Overall, the app was easy to use and figure out.

What I wish I could change about the ebook app:
Highlight text - For younger children having highlighted text is a benefit.  It provides them with a visual as to when the section has been read and can help them from turning the pages too quickly.

Delay at the beginning - There is a long delay from when you click on the app to when the book's main page appears.  During that time, the screen is completely black.  At first, I wasn't sure if it was frozen and I turned it off and then back on.  Since then I realized that I just need to be patient and it will eventually start.

Lack of consistent blue dots - Throughout the story a small blue dot will appear on a character.  If the reader touches it, the character will say a line of dialogue.  However, I found that often there is more dialogue than the blue dots would indicate.  If the blue dot is to be there, then it needs to be consistently present for every dialogue selection.  Also, touching the blue dot could make a character spin around or say a line of dialogue which seemed odd. 

Hints - Though there is a "help" button at the beginning, which gives tips for how to interact with the pages, there wasn't a hint button that directed readers to things that they might have missed.

Would I recommend it:
After playing with this app, I would recommend it.  Children who are already fans of Cinderella will love it.  

Here is the trailer for Cinderella: