LARS AND FRIENDS by Carla Susanto
Kirkus Star


by & developed by
Age Range: 3 - 8
Available on the App Store
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A red horse spends a day with groups of other animals in this simple story with a clever learning hook.

Lars wants to run around long after his herd has grown tired. So he swims with a school of fish, jumps with a mob of kangaroos, and takes shelter from the rain with a tower of giraffes. As he plays, readers learn the names for groups of animals, from a memory of elephants to a parliament of owls. Animations are pleasingly granular. Tapping one obvious item, say the sun, might trigger a flurry of flowers in the air. But tapping on individual horses or kangaroos among a group could make each of them jump or simply blink an eye. The app’s restraint is admirable. It doesn’t try to extend the story to contain every possible collective name, and it keeps the focus on the words and visuals, with just a simple acoustic guitar loop playing throughout. That goes well with attractive watercolor and gouache paint illustrations of a variety of habitats. There is optional narration on every page, allowing readers to enjoy each page at their own pace. Best of the extra features is a “Learn” menu that offers many more animal group names, such as an ostentation of peacocks.

The app’s shining features never overwhelm the simplicity of Lars’ story or the nicely executed idea at its heart. (iPad storybook app. 3-8)


Pub Date: June 15th, 2014
Publisher: Carla Susanto
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2014


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