Lola and Lucy’s Big Adventure is a downloadable interactive storybook for iPad. You and your kids can join Lola and Lucy, two bulldogs that live happily with their family. But when they overhear a sheepdog at the dog park talking about his duties at the farm, Lola and Lucy decide to go out into the world and find out what their real job is. But they eventually discover that their true purpose was where they were at all along. This storybook is unique in that it’s great for kids who are in that transitional stage from picture stories to chapter books. Around the middle of elementary school or so.
There are two ways to read this story. The picture book mode is shorter, with fewer words and descriptions. Chapter book mode is longer, with more descriptive narration. The longer version fleshes out the story more, helping it make more sense. You can also choose to read the words at the bottom of the screen or on the side, like a page from a book. Choose to have a narrator read to you, or read by yourself. There is also a mode where the narrator reads the story and turns pages automatically. I did notice that when you switch modes in the middle of the story, sometimes the narrator would read the mode you picked, but it would show the words from the mode you were originally in. But that can be easily fixed in an update. You also can’t tap on words and have the reader say them for you, like in other interactive storybooks. But since this one is geared towards slightly older kids, that’s really not much of an issue.
On every page is a beautiful hand painted illustration of Lola and Lucy’s adventures. They look almost real! You can tap on certain things in the pictures to make them move or make sounds, or even other surprises. On some pages, you can even play little touch screen mini-games. In these games, you’ll help herd sheep, find flowers, or feed unattended pancakes to Lola and Lucy. The neat thing is that at the end of the story, the book tallies how many secret surprises you found and tapped on, and how many mini-games you found and won. So kids will want to re-read and replay again and again to find and win all the secrets.
This book can be considered educational, too. On one of the pages, you can see a computer screen with different breeds of dogs. Each time you tap it, you can read about a different breed of dog, how old their breed is, and what they were bred for. There is also a map of the United States in the options menu that kids can look at to track the bulldogs’ journey. So there’s a bit of light geography there, too. Speaking of options, in that menu you can switch modes, skip to other pages, read up on the real life Lola and Lucy, or view the credits.
When you download Lola and Lucy’s Big Adventure, you get the first six pages for free. It costs $4.99 for the rest. So it’s good to try out. And for the price, you really get a LOT of content in this application. There are almost 30 pages, so it’s a fairly long storybook. It took me over an hour to read the first time. Because of the length, this interactive book is best enjoyed by slightly older readers in that transitional phase from picture books to chapter books, around second or third grade. However, it might make a good bedtime story for younger kids that you can split up into multiple parts each night, depending on how attentive (and sleepy) your kids are. Lola and Lucy’s Big Adventure is a charming story that any young (and young at heart) animal lover would enjoy.