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WORLD ATLAS by Nick Crane


by Nick Crane, illustrated by David Dean, developed by TouchPress

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: March 15th, 2012
Publisher: Barefoot

Animations and clever enhancements give this elementary atlas more flash than its print version (2011), but the content remains skimpy and poorly organized.

Built around a really quite cool cartoon globe that can be rotated at will, the app allows viewers to zoom in on any area or country. A tap opens a fact box that contains an animated national flag, basic information such as land area, capital city and (with location settings turned on) “Distance From Me.” There are also a handful of environmental facts such as average CO2 emissions per head and current weather (presumably in said capital). Audio narration and a snatch of localized music are optionally available as well. Alternatively, countries or world regions can also be selected through searchable lists linked to a corner icon or visited alphabetically using arrows at the bottom. In addition, tapping on any of the dozens of small buildings, flora or fauna, objects and human figures that festoon the globe opens a box with a link to a photo and an assortment of facts, albeit not always clearly presented ones. The “Brahman cattle” icon, for instance, indicates that though they are "[o]riginally from India, these cattle are now popular around the world," without explaining exactly why it's wandering across Brazil. There are no political boundaries except for country borders, and those are hard to find even at full zoom.

Not useful for reference, though an enticing plaything for younger armchair travelers. (iPad informational app. 5-8)