Apps With Sass
Biscuit Visits the Pumpkin Patch
Developer: FrogDogMedia LLC (iStorytime)
Availability: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and Nook
Having been around for two and a half years (which in the app world counts as old-school), FrogDogMedia has learned a thing or two about designing children's book apps. "We're the oldest kid on the monkey bars," jokes Graham Farrar of FrogDogMedia, which publishes e-books under the iStorytime brand. In Biscuit Visits the Pumpkin Patch, young readers follow the adventures of a puppy named Biscuit as he romps among the gourds, jumps into wheelbarrows and finds hidden bones.
"It's got the highlighted text and the narration. It also has animation on every page. It's almost like a digital pop-up," Farrar says. "On each page there's a bone or two hidden. When the kids click on [one], it pops up and says, 'Great job!' In the end [it] tallies up how much they've found. Something that simple, from a technical standpoint, does not blow your socks off, but my kids will not let a page go by without finding a bone."
The book app also has a virtual sticker book and coloring book at the end, so enthusiastic young readers can e-mail their creations to grandma. Kids can read the book unaided or have the book read to them, and a highlighted text option helps in word-learning. "It's the same way you would teach a kid if you were holding them on your lap," Farrar says.
"What we're trying to find is something that the kids enjoy and that's helpful for the parents—not a substitute to reading to the kids at night, but for all those times when you're driving or you're working and need to keep them occupied," he says. "It's the next best thing to you reading [to them]. At least they are still reading the book. With apps in the $2 to $3 range, my kids go through these books 50 times. A penny a minute of entertained kid—that's a pretty good deal!"