Meet a mob of meerkats in this unassuming natural-history app.
Although this brief introduction to the meerkats of southwestern Africa has a tendency to drone, meerkats can save pretty much any situation. They are just too sweet to resist, though any creature that eats scorpions probably isn’t to be underestimated. The presentation may be dry, but it also covers all the bases, from habitat to social life, diet to vocalizations. The narration is remarkably flat and follows a script on the screen with the word being spoken pulsing somewhat like the old follow-the-bouncing-ball reading tool. The creators have put together an excellent selection of stills and clips that convey a good sense of the meerkat’s environment and personality. One area where the app doesn’t lack pizzazz is in its engagement with readers. They get to feed the meerkat its remarkably atrocious diet, put together—or at least try to put together—a jigsaw puzzle, roll a meerkat out of a maze by tilting the iPad, take a number of quizzes and meet other residents of such locations as the Kalahari Desert, including spotted hyenas and cobras. The app’s interactive ease makes it suitable for a fairly wide readership, but be prepared to wait just a second longer than might be wished for some of the images to load.A workmanlike venture through the meerkat world. (iPad informational app. 4-8)