A new abecedary app joins the menagerie.
As with many alphabet apps, each page shows one animal whose name begins with the featured letter. The characters move slightly on their own, prompting readers to tap them and figure out simple animations. Young readers will enjoy the colorful cartoon illustrations of animals in silly costumes, whether it’s a duck in an old-fashioned aviator’s outfit or a koala in chef whites serving a plate of eucalyptus leaves. There is no consistent connection among the featured letter, the costume and the activity (though parents will probably get a kick out of the aristocratic alligator). The British narration is pleasant, although the timing needs improvement. When readers turn a page, they hear the letter name and then the animal name hard on its heels, making it hard to distinguish one from the other. Well-designed parental controls make it easy to turn off music, sound effects and narration. It is disappointing that only six characters are clearly girls, and most of these are dressed in traditional outfits such as a unicorn in a Renaissance princess costume or a mother quail in an elegant shawl. Only one girl is clearly active: a little mouse happily roller-skating. Where are today’s girls in this app?
Entertaining illustrations reinforce outmoded stereotypes of gender roles. (Requires iOS 6 and above.) (iPad alphabet app. 2-5)