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A WORD'S A BIRD by Orel Protopopescu


by Orel Protopopescu & illustrated by Jeanne B. de Sainte Marie & developed by Actialuna

Age Range: 2 - 5

Pub Date: May 18th, 2013
Publisher: Actialuna

This bilingual (French/English) springtime rhyme is lovely and charming in many ways, but underneath, it’s a scant offering that may leave readers wondering, “Is that all?”

Much like a flip book, this app is illustrated by hundreds of lush watercolor paintings that have been combined to create animation. But this isn’t a book to flip through. Rather, there is a pull-down with an introductory poem and three simple icons on the home screen that correspond to three spring months: April, May and June. Tap one, and a new screen launches that reveals another brief poem. Swiping the bottom of the text box upward causes it to temporarily disappear while animation commences—a mother duck and her ducklings paddling in a stream; a cardinal flaps up into an apple tree; a spaniel and a mustachioed bloodhound go boating. Each vignette holds an interactive nugget. In April, the duck and her ducklings line up to face readers, and the line of corresponding lilies behind them represents the notes on the scale. In perhaps the app’s most engaging feature, tapping out any melody on the lilies causes the ducklings to mimic it. In May, touching peonies causes them to bloom, each revealing a different bee. A selective glossary adds little.

Enchanting artwork, tranquil sound effects and the narrator’s soothing voice all add to the serenity. But the interaction and poetry are so fleeting, this app feels like an incomplete sentence. (requires iPad 2+) (iPad storybook app 2-5)