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ZANNY by Pamela Sloane-Bradbury


Born to Run

From the Extra Special Kids series

by Pamela Sloane-Bradbury & illustrated by Allison Garwood & developed by Extra Special Kids

Age Range: 5 - 7

Pub Date: Dec. 18th, 2010
Publisher: Extra Special Kids

A hyperbolic portrait of a lad who operates only at top speed is paired to a bug-ridden recognition game.

Depicted with fixed, wide eyes and a maniacal grin in Garwood's cartoon illustrations, Zanny dashes with a touch-activated "Wahoo!" through the house and a cloud of thrown breakfast cereal, then past slower children and various animals who exhaust themselves trying to keep up. Ultimately, watched over by fond parents, he zooms along to a total crash at bedtime. Each scene features both automatic and touch-activated animations and sound effects. There is also a disappearing menu that includes a strip of page images and on-off switches for the auto-advance, the unobtrusive background music and the forcibly cheery audio narration. The less-than-inspired rhymed text runs to lines like "Swifter than a cheetah / even when he's sick. / Quick Quick Quick, Quick Quick Quick Quick." The app also includes a "Feelings Game" designed to provide practice in identifying facial expressions—but that provides disappointingly ambiguous choices in several cases.

Aimed at children with spectrum disorders, but likely to miss that audience—or any other. (iPad therapeutic app. 5-7)