It's Tyrannosaurus Rex is a nicely illustrated title in Oceanhouse Media's Smithsonian Collection - a series based on popular non-fiction print titles about the natural world. The print version of this title was released in 2003 along with an audio CD and poster of T-Rex. As an OM book this title sparkles, giving enormous value over its print counterpart (minus the poster), including narrated text that highlights as read. This book series fills a great need for digital book apps with non-fiction educational content. The books selected so far have been well vetted as print titles, making it easy as parents & educators to select these digital books with confidence.
Each title in this series takes the original print images and pans over them in a nice, semi-animated style. There is also a nice array of sound effects, like cricket sounds and birds chirping, paired nicely with great narration. The sound effects also help the story come alive without overshadowing the voice-over. Overall, this is a solidly made book with nice enhancements. If you tap anywhere on the page, words appear that represent the different images (e.g. 'ferns', 'forest', 'Triceratops'). If that word also happens to be part of that page's text, the word is highlighted within the text of the story, helping young readers make important connections between the written and spoken word. Paired with Oceanhouse Media's omBooks template, non-fiction titles get a clear educational boost when print goes digital.
The only things I would suggest for improvements would be a page guide and a way to turn the sound off for the interactive elements (words) in the 'read myself' setting. Links outside the app are also present, although they are at least tucked away in settings found only on the title page. This title is also not very long, making it a good choice for bedtime reading.
As a way to foster a child's love of a dinosaurs, this app gets high marks. It is well developed, based on scientific information and even has a few pages at the end with additional information about dinosaurs and the prehistoric era. These books are also beautifully presented with light enhancements that make the print titles come alive.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Oceanhouse Media, Inc.
6 - 8 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 4 - 10 +
The story begins with the ancient forest full of prehistoric life. Soon a loud pounding sound can be hear in the distance and all the animals begin to hide. It is Tyrannosaurus Rex! She is bigger than most other dinosaurs and even bigger than the trees. She tries to eat a nearby flying reptile but when she misses she heads into the forest for something that smells delicious ... while trying to eat a baby dino, she cracks her tooth on a jagged rock instead. Soon an even scarier sound can be heard in the distance, a volcano.