fun interactive app featuring a girl as she dresses for a Halloween event, I really loved all the interactions on each page – and seeing what would happen if I tapped multiple times
What we’d love to see…
design your own treat bag, dress some of the other characters
This fun interactive Halloween themed app includes a girl and her inner voice as she gets ready in the mirror. Join her adventures in picking her dress, shoes, socks, and makeup while getting ready.
Who is the Ugliest of All by The Happy Dandelion is a universal Halloween themed app for iOS featuring an interactive mirror. The main character is a young girl who is trying to figure out what to wear to a Halloween trick or treat. This storybook app has the main character picking out a dress – which she admits is tight and stained is her attire of choice. She then puts on her stockings with a few repairs needed and mismatched socks of orange and teal as well as two different shoes – one grey and one brown. Then it’s off to makeup, nails and hair. Her hair has a raven nest with three small chicks and UV sunglasses to protect her eyes. Be sure to check out the other apps by The Happy Dandelion which include Queen Bee in Paris, The UnStealer.
This app features narration of the story – simply tap on the text to have it read aloud as well as a variety of interactive elements on each page. On the dress page there is a belt to tap, the dress which twinkles and disappears and then re-appears in the mirror. By tapping on the mismatched shoes – a new rip appears which is quickly fixed by a spider who you can later swing after she’s completed her repairs. Navigation is via hidden buttons at the top of each page – simply tap the left side to go back and the right side to go forward.
This app features the internal dialog of a girl getting dressed for Halloween. Join her as she finds her dress, puts on her mismatched socks and shoes while getting ready. My favorite part of the app was putting on her makeup because all of the colors made me laugh – green lipstick, blue blush and the magic marker eyebrows. The animations and illustrations in this app are great, I enjoyed tapping around (and tapping some things multiple times) to make sure I captured all of the various animations. Seeing the gloves with no tips against the green smile and animation was cute as you could interact with each element. The best though was the Raven’s nest in her hair – and the raven feeding her chicks with the worms! The app is for older kids and adults as some of the self talk especially when she refers to herself as ugliest can be a bit self depreciating until you get to the last page when you discover she’s dressed for Trick or Treat! On the last page you can unwrap a mummy, tap on Frankenstein, or make the magic stone glow. The app ends well when you discover that the girl was simply putting together a Halloween costume! I have to say that I have looked at this app multiple times – and it never fails to delight with the fun animations.
In terms of enhancements – it might be fun to dress some of the other characters on the last page or even to design her trick or treat bag,
This fun interactive Halloween themed app includes a girl and her inner voice as she gets ready in the mirror. Join her adventures in picking her dress, shoes, socks, and makeup while getting ready. The app is child-safe with no external links or in-app purchases.
Whether we like it or not, our kids frequently witness activities that are cruel to animals thinking that these are acceptable and they may never find out about the realities behind these practices. As adults, we too don’t think much about the consequences of our actions on the plight of the animals around us. Do we continue to visit animal shows where animals are kept in confined spaces? Do we question where our food come from and how the food industry is run? Are there animal-friendly alternatives to our fashion and food preferences? Are we guilty of contributing to the rising number of abandoned pets? Do we educate our kids enough about animal welfare and wildlife conservation?
What we love…
The creative use of transparent pages to visually show the opposite effects of our harmful/compassionate actions on the animals around us.
What we’d love to see…
Discussion guide for parents.
Simple but impactful, Animal Rescue is full of surprises and thought provoking actions for both children and adults.
I started to think about these issues after sharing the book app, Animal Rescue by PatrickGeorge Ltd with my youngest. This is actually a fun picture book for children to play animal rescue hero but strangely it was thought provoking at the same time. My son enjoyed freeing the animals and with a little prompting, he began to ask why the animals were not happy and wondered why certain actions were wrong. He was also curious to know what happened after he saved them? It is a simple yet powerful app that provided us with lots of learning opportunities.
While Animal Rescue is easy to play and seemingly simple, it is full of surprises for kids to discover. There are 14 animals to be saved in the app. Two side-by-side pages are devoted to each animal – the picture on the right shows the animal in captivity (or cruelly treated) and the left shows a scene where the animal rightfully belongs. A transparent page lies in between the two pages and it has a picture of the animal printed on it. This overlay completes the pages on both sides.
With a flip (swiping or tapping action) of the transparent page from right to left, kids feel empowered as they can transport the animal from captivity to freedom and instantly change the animal’s well being. They can also see the change taking place gradually if they turn the transparent page slowly. What I like best is the clever use of these transparent pages to make the animal from one page becomes part of the other page as we turn the transparent pages back and forth. This two-way flipping shows vividly the damaging effects of our actions and what needs to be done. What is interesting is that you don’t know what is the full story on the other page until you turn the transparent page.
This picture book is also available in a physical book version but the app has the advantage in that readers can immerse in a more interactive environment with various sound effects like the sound of the animals, their natural habitat and the celebratory cheers when an animal is rescued. There are also light animations on each page to entertain the readers.
There are no words in this picture book but there is really no need for them as the bright and colorful illustrations clearly convey the need for animal protection. Being wordless also allows you to pitch your conversations to your child’s level of understanding. It could be just a fun animal rescue story book that introduces your child to empathy for animals, or a conservation awareness book that prompts your child to take a stand on inhumane acts against animals, or an open-ended book to encourage your child to talk about how we can make a difference in the lives of these animals. It can be used for different age groups and purposes in that sense.
Animal Rescue is a simple but educational and meaningful book app that makes a heavy topic easy for young children to understand. It’s a topic that we don’t talk about enough but the fun and ingenious transparent pages in this book app will have children coming back to play and talking often. Every child should have access to this wonderful book, be it at home or in the school.
Help! The animals need rescuing! Fourteen animals to rescue including an orca, an elephant, a lion cub, a puppy...Swipe across to turn the page and then swipe again to rescue! Choose your favourite animal.
NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.
There has been a dearth of book apps on families that are relevant to today’s world. This makes a simple and realistic story like Roxy and the Ballerina Robot by Jackrabbit Publishing LLC a rare treat for families who are looking for stories that their children can relate to personally.
What we love…
Characters and issues that young children can relate to personally.
What we’d love to see…
A more challenging task for unlocking access to external links. Perhaps using ‘Dad’ and ‘Mum’ in place of their names in the story.
Readers learn about wise money habits in this rare book app that promotes strong relationship in the modern family.
The story begins with Roxy’s desire to buy the newest toy, the Ballerina Robot after watching its commercial. She starts to save up and happily completes her daily chores to earn money in order to buy the toy. However, she got discouraged when she did not succeed and became angry. Sounds familiar? Your children will be eager to know how Roxy worked out a plan and succeeded in the end.
Children being influenced by toy commercials is a sign of the times that we all have to face. How do we teach our children how to deal with their wants, work towards their goals, resist the temptation for an immediate reward and wait for a later reward? This book offers you opportunities to discuss these modern day issues with your children and teach them important life values at the same time.
I like that this story presents strong and healthy family relationships which is important for any family configuration. Spending time together doing routine stuff provides the adults in the family with lots of teachable moments in a non-intimidating way. Roxy and her dad don’t just share fun times together but they have rough moments as well. Whatever the situation is, there is always communication between them.
My youngest enjoyed reading the story by himself and found it refreshingly different from the usual make-believe storybook apps that he is used to. I think he likes it because he can totally relate to Roxy. For younger readers, the book app comes with an option for audio narration and has the words highlighted in sync with the narration (available in English, Spanish and French). Furthermore, it allows readers to tap and hear individual words which helps them to learn new words. There is also a page menu that can take readers directly to any of the 28 pages in the story.
The beginning of a new year is always a great time to start a good personal habit like saving. In this story, Roxy becomes more aware about her impulsive spending habits and learns how she can be patient and in control of her money. So if you are planning to introduce (or reintroduce) your children to a saving habit, Roxy and the Ballerina Robot is the perfect book choice to help kick start it.
Get to know the author and the inspiration behind his book app in our interview with him here.
A healthy media diet balances activities (games, social media, TV), time (15 minutes? Three hours?), and choices (YouTube, Minecraft, Star Wars) with offline activities (sports, face-to-face conversations, daydreaming). At some point, kids will be able to manage their own media diets. In the meantime, these tips can help set them up for success.
Find balance. Instead of counting daily screen-time minutes, aim for a balance throughout the week. Get your kids to help plan a week that includes stuff they have to do and stuff they like to do, such as schoolwork, activities, chores, reading, family time, and TV or gaming. Decide on limits and behavior using our Family Media Agreement.
Talk about it. Ask questions about kids’ favorite games, shows, and characters. Discuss ideas and issues they read about or learn about through a TV show or a game. This is an opportunity for bonding, learning, and sharing your values.
Create tech-free zones.Set rules that fit your family, such as “no devices during dinner,” “no social media during homework,” or “all screens off before bedtime.”
As Common Sense Media’s parenting editor, Caroline helps parents make sense of what’s going on in their kids’ media lives. From games to cell phones to movies and more, if you’re wondering “what’s the right age for…?” Caroline can help you make the decision that works best for your family. She has more than 20 years of editorial and creative marketing writing experience and has held senior-level positions at Walmart.com, Walmart stores, Cnet, and Bay Area Parent magazine. She specializes in translating complex information into bite-sized chunks to help families make informed choices about what their kids watch, play, read, and do. And she’s the proud mom of a teenage son whose media passions include Star Wars, StarCraft,graphic novels, and the radio program This American Life.
Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization offering unbiased ratings and trusted advice to help families make smart media and technology choices. Check out our ratings and recommendations at www.commonsensemedia.org.
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