A photo/video montage that chronicles the life of Zhen Zhen, a baby panda born at the San Diego Zoo.
Zentro Media has partnered with producer/documentarian Cambou to educate kids about pandas and their plight as an endangered species. Zhen Zhen was born as a result of the zoo having “put mama and papa pandas together so they can have babies.” In fact, the app includes embedded video of the birth, though it’s completely gore and drama-free; it contains nothing at all that would be inappropriate for young children. Throughout the 34 pages, there are accounts of how zookeepers care for the fuzzy creatures, plenty of information about the animals’ habits and needs and a generous pitch about why conservation efforts are both necessary and important. Each page contains at least one bamboo frame that holds a video or photographs. Narration is interrupted when video frames are tapped, but it continues when the frame holds only a photograph. In addition, the app provides regular opportunities to summon panda facts and take part in “activities” (finger painting to reveal a photo or to turn grayscale images to color, for example). The photos are vivid and clear, and the videos will evoke many a smile.
Narration makes it a book, but multi-media reigns supreme in this compelling account of conservation efforts. (iPad storybook app. 4-11)