Last year I reviewed a game called Buddy & Me, a downloadable 2-D continuous runner for Wii U and mobile devices. The charming hand-drawn visuals in the game made it look like a children’s picture book come to life. Ironically, the next game the makers of Buddy & Me have made really is a children’s book! Care For Our World was originally an award-winning children’s book, and just in time for Earth Day, now it’s an app you can download and read on the iPad!
There are four modes in the Care For Our World app. Read Mode is where you actually read the story. Or you can have a narrator read it for you. One thing that I always like in these kinds of virtual books is when you can tap on a word and they’ll read it to you again. Glad to see they did that here. Another nice surprise that I discovered is that you can tap on the animals and people in the illustrations, and they’ll show the word for what you tapped on, read it, and that animal or whatever will do a little animation and sound. I could see kids enjoying tapping on everything to see what it did. I remember when I was a kid, I would just pour over the illustrations in my children’s books. As adults, I think we just try and read books just to get through them, and we don’t take the time to enjoy the illustrations anymore. I think it’s important to keep a little bit of that childlike wonder we used to have, so I try and work hard at pouring over illustrations in books like I used to.
Whoops, sorry to go off topic there. Anyway, the next mode in the app is Play Mode. Here you can create your own scenes using backdrops and animals from the book with drag and drop mechanics. Want to have penguins dancing on top of a giraffe’s head? You can do that here. It kind of reminded me of those old Colorforms toys, if anyone remembers those. Next is Create Mode. Here you can color select pages from the book using an easy to use touch screen paint tool. Finally in Learn Mode, you can read about the different kinds of animals featured in the book, learn some facts, see some actual photos, and even hear the sounds some of them make. Parents can also toggle various options, too.
I guess if I had to find a problem with this app, it’s that it would’ve been nice to learn about actual ways that kids and adults can help take care of our world, as most of the book is just listing different animals that rhyme with each other. But that’s not really the app’s fault, that’s just how the book was written. Plus, I may be old fashioned, but I don’t think anything will replace sitting down with your child and read an actual book and physically turn the pages. There’s even a version of the real book that comes with a playset, which looks neat. However, the app is only about 3 bucks, and it has a lot of content on its own, so I’m a little torn on this one. If you have young kids who like to use the iPad and read about animals, you may want to download this