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by Peter Guttman & photographed by Peter Guttman & developed by Banzai Labs

Age Range: 3 & up

Pub Date: Jan. 7th, 2012
Publisher: Banzai Labs

A photo gallery–as-app is light on features yet becomes a moving visual statement communicated through the faces of hundreds of kids from around the world.

The 230 photos—often-breathtaking, in-the-moment portraits—are accessed via pins on a world map, as a slide show or as a gallery with a simple horizontal bar as navigation. Each photo has a caption that can be accessed by tapping a word-balloon button. The one-line descriptions are light on detail, yet evocative. "Wearing his last meal as lipstick, a full child takes a break from dining and greets a visitor to his simple home in a riverside African village," reads a caption for a photo taken in Juffure, The Gambia. But it's the faces of the children themselves that are most compelling. Whether they appear to be bored or giddy, engaged in activity or posing for a foreigner's camera, their emotions are sometimes as clear as what the backdrops tell us about their living conditions. The cumulative effect gives readers (especially young ones) a small sense of the scale of the Earth and its many inhabitants. If there's anything missing, it's a cleverer way to browse the images than flipping through them one by one, pointing on a clunky map or rolling a too-tiny thumbnail bar. And, though the app is visually overstuffed, there's no sound at all. It's as if the kids all went eerily silent when even a few sound clips would have enhanced the app greatly.

This impressive photo set makes for a stunning, if occasionally overwhelming geographical experience. (iPad informational app. 3 & up)