A Book App about Being the New Kid in a Neighborhood
Using dramatic, brightly-colored illustrations set on a black background, this book app follows a little boy named Leonard, whose parents decide to move from the densely populated city to the sparsely populated countryside. Leonard, who is used to having lots of friends around with whom to play, is surprised when he can't find other kids nearby his new home. He embarks on a quest to find other kids; but in the meantime, he uses his imagination to keep himself entertained.
Ingenious Display of Leonard's Imagination
Putting kids in control of Leonard's imagination provides this book app with a clever hook. Using a slider mechanism that appears on some of the pages, readers can go from seeing ordinary Leonard to interacting with Leonard in his imaginary world. As kids move the slider, the illustration magically morphs into Leonard's wild imagination. For example, when Leonard looks for kids at a nearby stream, he imagines himself underwater with a giant whale. By putting a finger to the screen, readers can attract the brightly-colored fish that are swimming by. When Leonard climbs a ladder for a better look at the countryside, he imagines himself in outer space. Readers zing the astronaut version of Leonard around to make him and his cat careen among the planets!
Why this Book App is Great
The first rule for any book app is that it must deliver a story worth reading. Leonard does this in spades! This story shows how leaving old friends is hard and finding new ones is even harder. But it delivers a powerful message about how one can use his imagination to be entertained in lonely situations. And Leonard has a BIG imagination. When he uses his binoculars to scan his yard for kids, he imagines all sorts of African animals grazing. Readers get to control the binoculars in Leonard's imaginary world to zoom in on crocodiles, elephants, and hippos.
Leonard eventually focuses his imagination on building a robot, which the readers get to help him design. When Leonard takes his robot to a local park, he is pleasantly surprised to find other imaginative kids there as well.
This charming story is worth reading by itself, but when accompanied by the slider bar into Leonard's imagination, this book app becomes special. Add in great narration (although the words don't highlight), delightful, dramatic illustrations, and clever interactions that will send kids tapping to see what happens next and Leonard becomes a don't-miss storybook app.
Leonard is a book app that deserves a place in all kids' digital libraries. It is also a great book for librarians to use for story time. By reading books about imaginative kids, children can't help but be motivated to use their own imaginations.
This Leonard app review was written by Jinny Gudmundsen.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.