TIMOR THE ALLIGATOR (reviewed on August 26, 2011)
A colorful, if underwhelming tale of a dentally-challenged alligator.
Timor the alligator loves to do lots of things. Unfortunately, nothing he does really captures the imagination. In word and rhyme, he’s rather dull, even disconnected. And there are none of the standard read to me, autoplay or language options, making Timor appear rather one-dimensional as apps go. After the opening page, there’s not a note of music, leaving much of the story’s life hinging on the adult reader’s interpretive skills. What ultimately saves Timor the Alligator’s googly-eyed, lime green hide is the bright and shiny way the app is illustrated, and the interactive components that propel the story forward. Young children will love helping Timor slide, ride, and fly, as well as feeding him all his meals (including the lunch plate itself), and ultimately do the one thing he does not like to do: brush his scary-stained alligator teeth. Parents will love the teachable moment, as toddlers see the glories of their work when Timor’s teeth sparkle after brushing. And both parents and children will love the toothpaste choices (there are eight), the way Timor’s eyes follow the brush, warily, as it scrubs his pointy chompers, and the ‘glow in the dark’ surprise at bedtime. And although it takes some curiosity (read: no instruction nearby), tap Timor anywhere on the End page and watch a plethora of hat options appear! If a storybook app can plant the first seeds of dental hygiene, this one has some flossibilities.
A teachable moment for the newly toothed, Timor the Alligator delivers just enough on the illustrative and interactive fronts to make the lackluster story palatable. (iPad storybook app. 2-5)