Barton’s books about transportation are notable for their spare simplicity and bright pop-art illustrations; here, four gain added value with features that both entertain and encourage reading skills.
Introducing the setting for each mode of transport, the books open simply: “On the road,” “In the sky,” etc. Each subsequent page then highlights a different type of truck, airplane, etc., and with a true minimum of words conveys a good bit of information about their functions. “Planes” and “Boats” focus on the passenger jet and cruise ship as specific types, while “Trains” and “Trucks” concentrate on what they do. To assist early readers, words zoom up and are spoken when objects in the pictures are touched, and all words are highlighted as they are read; Oceanhouse’s signature style is an excellent complement to Barton’s simple compositions and text. Young readers will enjoy moving the vehicles, people and even the clouds while realistic (and optional) sound effects such as honks, murmured speech and engine noise play in the background. Extra movement is provided by subtle animations. A drop-down bar gives easy access to the audio options, page selection and information tabs.
Bright, simple and loaded with big machines—a steam engine, a fire boat and even a crop-duster, among others—this app is sure to appeal to young transportation enthusiasts. (iPad informational app. 2-5)