I’m still on the quest to find decent children’s books for iBooks or Kindle, as previously mentioned. I’ve not had any success with that, but there are an increasing number of books being released as “Stand-alone” apps, and there are some great ones out there.
I can’t remember how I found Lazy Larry Lizard for iPad by Wasabi Productions, but I’m glad I did. It’s an interactive story of a lazy lizard where the reader is encouraged to poke the lizard to wake him up at regular intervals. Thankfully the story ends happily with the reader stroking the sleeping lizard instead. The story is a good length, and keeps the three-year-old geekdaughter engaged throughout. You can choose to read the story yourself, or to have it read to you, and here’s one of the things that sets this app apart from the similar offerings that are available. The narrator is a lady with a lovely, warm Australian accent, very clear and easy to understand. The geekdaughter has played this book over and over again, and I am still quite happy to listen it, which can’t be said about all of her apps!
The main thing that sets this app apart however is the quality of the animation. Each illustration is beautifully drawn, and the movements that Larry makes when interacted with are really well done. I must confess I have been known to take a trip through this book when the geekdaughter isn’t around, just to appreciate the cute sounds and the smooth movements of Larry! Navigation is very easy as well – to turn each page all you need to do is tap the bottom corner of the page. Bottom right to move forward, and bottom left to move back. Although the geekdaughter is pretty good at “swiping”, that action still stumps her in some book apps, but she has had no trouble navigating her way around this app.
A recent update to the app has also introduced a little game – “Leapin’ Larry” – where you have to make Larry jump over various obstacles that get in his way. The geekdaughter has only tried this once, and she got the idea very quickly – the controls are very easy – but didn’t quite have the coordination to get the lizard to jump at the right time. She did get a lot of enjoyment from making the lizard jump though, and I think she’d quite happily play the game without any obstacles at all – she’d just get the lizard to jump again and again!
The only slight complaint I have about this app (and it is a very small one) is that the lizard can only be interacted once per screen of story. Quite often the geekdaughter wants to poke Larry the minute she can see him, and he does his cute movements, but then the narrator will encourage her to poke him but that doesn’t work.
And there is good news for iPhone owners as well. Until recently, Lazy Larry Lizard was an iPad only app, but the author has just released an iPhone version. This is the same story and narration as the iPad version described above, with just one small change. Due to screen size limitations, the book is displayed by showing the page of text first, followed by the animation, rather than displaying both at the same time as on the iPad. This actually addresses my small complaint above, in that the geekdaughter can’t poke the lizard too early, as the animation is not displayed until the right time, so I think this adaptation works really well.
My thanks to Graham from Wasabi Productions for giving me permission to reproduce images from his website in this post. If you hop on over to Wasabi Productions web site you’ll be able to see a video of the Leapin’ Larry game, and also read about his future planned releases – there should be another two books out before Christmas! Graham has also been kind enough to share with me a sneak peak at the animations for Ten Giggly Gorillas and they look to be of a similar high quality to Larry Lizard – I can’t wait for the whole book!