Googly eyed cartoon letter-monsters scatter and can be nudged back into order to form words in this hyperactive vocabulary builder.
Preceded by a swipe-through index that provides the only alternative to going in strict alphabetical order, the words—which run to lively choices like “lick,” “hilarious” and “cooperate”—appear one to a screen. Once a viewer settles on a word, a passing herd of cartoon monsters kicks the letters away from their outlines. The letters develop eyes and sound themselves out as they’re dragged back into their places, and reassembling the word opens a second screen in which more monsters demonstrate its use. A speech-balloon icon in one corner, unintuitively labeled “Word,” activates a short, voiced definition (“When you DEMOLISH something, you break it on purpose”). Big sound effects, loud colors and sudden quick movements give the whole exercise a feel of gleeful unrestraint, reminiscent of Sesame Street at its most frenetic. The app as reviewed offers just 32 terms, but more are promised at unspecified intervals (and, at least potentially, cost), and a screen headed “Information For Parents” contains, so far, only links to a technical assistance page and social media.
Promising, though the navigation needs tweaking, and the glossary is still in an early stage. (iPad alphabet app. 4-7)