Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Round is a Mooncake iPhone App children's book


This review was written by Stan Lemon.

When the iPhone came out I envisioned it being the ultimate tool for developers and e-professions, I never envisioned it would become a really cool tool for little ones as well. The number of emerging children's books and games geared toward children coming out for the iPhone have opened a completely new use for this great little device.
I admit that for a couple of years while developers were cranking out kid-oriented apps for the iPhone I mostly ignored them. Having a daughter though, they're now on my radar. A book I recently tried out was "Round is a Mooncake" (found here http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/round-is-a-mooncake/id348857397?mt=8) from PicPocketBooks or on twitter  @PicPocketBooks . This is a neat little book that emphasizes shapes while bringing in an element of Chinese culture as well.

The implementation is pretty straight forward, each page of the book is a screen and there is a young narrator who reads the book to the user. While reading the book the text for that page is highlighted when the narrator reaches a word. The latest version of the app includes some interaction where the user can touch various things on the page and cause them to make sounds.

There are some areas where I could see this app improved. First, the splash screen does not need to pop up everytime I open the app. The first time should be sufficient. Second, the book does not resume where left off, so in the event I get a phone call in the middle of reading I have to navigate back to where I was when I return to the app. Third, the navigation controls for this book are either auto or manual, not both like some other children's book apps I've seen. It would be nice if it ran automatically by default but I could advance as needed with swipes. The navigation isn't even really swipe activated, only displaying the navigation is. The navigation bar is, in my opinion, a little small to be utilized by someone with uncoordinated hands.

All in all this type of app is great, especially if you've got kids! :) I'd recommend the $2.99 purchase just for the ease of use and quick accessibility of having a fully interactive children's book in your pocket.

*Check out Moms With Apps for their free Friday App giveaway! 

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