Albert thinks “learning ABC’s [is] a bore. / He’d rather go on safari, take some pictures and explore”...and so he does.
Well supported by animation, music (a jaunty reggae tune) and captivating sound effects, this 31-page app makes learning the alphabet exciting and interactive, with 26 whimsical animal-themed letters. Albert chases after Jaguars and Quails, deep-sea fishes for Octopus and X-ray fish, discovers a small Newt under a leaf, takes a sled through the snow to find a Urial and climbs up a mountain to reach a Vulture’s nest. Each animal is first represented by the outline of a large, uppercase letter; at a tap, it fills in with the image of the letter-shaped animal. At every turn, animal sounds enhance the experience, making each “alphabetimal” memorable. The narrator’s squeaky voice keeps the adventure moving. For more fun at the end, readers can take another look at all the letters and animals, type their name in alphabetimals and even find coloring pages on the book’s website. There are only a few slight hiccups here, including a missing sound effect for Albert’s camera. He carries it everywhere, but the shutter never clicks. And the story would benefit from more interactive options for readers—a way to help Albert climb up to that vulture’s nest or sprint toward the jaguar, for instance.
Overall, though, O’Toole’s iPad app delivers on a basic premise: Learning can be simple, imaginative and fun.
(iPad storybook app. 1-4)