Kirkus Reviews QR Code
KINGDOM OF PLANTS WITH DAVID ATTENBOROUGH by Serengeti Entertainment Ltd.

KINGDOM OF PLANTS WITH DAVID ATTENBOROUGH

By Serengeti Entertainment Ltd.

Pub Date: May 22nd, 2012
Publisher: Serengeti Entertainment Ltd.

The inimitable Attenborough conducts a fascinating interactive tour of the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens and its legendary collection of fantastic greenery from around the globe.

Plants, as surprising and remarkable as they may be, are not the most dynamic subjects of study. But this app changes all of that with exciting features like “Plant Time,” which grants users the godlike power to make a flower actually bloom—and reverse the process—right on their iPads. An animated tree on the attractive home page grows from the center of one of the garden's conservatories, inviting users to join Attenborough on a thoroughly engaging exploration of any one of 10 leaves devoted to a different section of the original three-hour documentary series, which originally ran in the U.K. Five other “clickable” leaves lead readers inside other areas of the Gardens, where users can explore much of the facility through self-controlled panoramic views. The video and still photography are vivid and look exceptionally lifelike on third-generation iPads. The app is light on text, but what there is of it nicely complements the presentation. The famed naturalist is in exceedingly fine form as the kindly, enthusiastic and authoritative guide. A generous behind-the-scenes option delves into the making of the 3-D documentary and gives a glimpse of some of the magic tricks—like a camera mounted to a remotely controlled Minicopter to mimic the view of flying insects—the filmmakers used in its making. The app does a remarkably good job of inculcating an appreciation of the plant world. Ultraviolet cinematography even exposes the astounding property many plants have to appear one way to humans and an entirely different way to pollinating insects. The open-ended presentation means that there is no particular starting or endpoint, so users can essentially meander around the grounds of the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens any way they like.

A captivating experience that encourages users to keep coming back for repeat visits.