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THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT by Michael  Solovyev


illustrated by Michael Solovyev & developed by MediaProfit

Age Range: 2 - 5

Pub Date: Nov. 5th, 2012
Publisher: MediaProfit

A prosaic digital version of the classic British nursery rhyme.

It’s a shame that this app offers very few animated or tactile features that support the text, since the story is packed with action verbs. Yes, there are a few tap-sensitive features—tinkling bells, shutters that open and close, the tip of a hat, for example—but there are few interactive elements that match the narrative. Readers will likely try to toss the dog, chase the mouse or milk the cow, but to no avail. Illustrations are easy on the eyes, sporting muted watercolorlike backgrounds with characters and objects providing a bit of soothing contrast. There are several bonus features, which include coloring scene shots, putting together simple puzzles or matching objects/characters with their silhouettes. The best feature of the app is that it’s multilingual; the story can be narrated (by native speakers) or read in English, French, Italian or Russian. The developer lists “interactive multilanguage dictionary” as one of the app’s value-added features, but the dictionary consists of 24 items from the story that, when tapped, will summon enunciation in any language.

If teaching children how to say “the fence” or “the maiden” in four languages is the goal, this app fits the bill. Otherwise, there’s not much creativity or innovation to make it worth springing for. (incompatible with iPad 1) (iPad storybook app. 2-5)