Over in the Ocean is a beautifully illustrated book app based on the print title published in 2004. Author Marianne Berkes weaves a simple but sweet story about sealife over ten pages, counting one-by-one until by all the fishy babies have been found. This well-crafted tale, told in rhyme, is delightful and can be read aloud, narrated (with highlighting) or even sung to young listeners.
As lovely as the story is, the illustrations are even better! Beautiful colors depict a sea of creatures with light interactivity and animation. The ocean comes alive with Jeanette Canyon's original creations. Music is also lovely as an addition to this multi-media app, however it has been poorly implemented. The high-quality guitar soundtrack plays in the background but stops abruptly between pages, breaking the otherwise seamless reading experience.
Being an app, the developers also added a counting game, asking youngsters to 'find the babies' in a scene with ten seahorses. Finding all the little creatures takes some time and may be frustrating for the littlest readers without some help from an adult. This extra is small but well loved by the digital generation.
Overall, this is a beautifully illustrated and well-crafted storybook made into an app, featuring a classic rendering of a counting book. Digital features like a pageguide would be nice, as well as seamless music, but otherwise this is a must-have for sealife lovers. The illustrations alone are worth a look, approximating 3-D with their vividness.
This app has been thoroughly evaluated by our staff. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how it fared in all nine of our rating categories. See synopsis tab for more details about the storyline.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Marianne Berkes/Jeanette Canyon
6 - 8 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: Yes
Age: 2 - 5 +
Now this best-selling counting & sing-along book is an interactive app! Children count, poke and jiggle the ocean animal babies to watch them graze, skitter, dart, and much more—and then find all the babies in a counting game. “Over in the Ocean” (book) has won nine major awards, including Learning Magazine’s Teacher’s Choice Award and National Parenting Publications’ Gold Award. This app is a fun way to reinforce learning. This App is available in English only.
Kirkus Reviews says: “This beautifully illustrated counting and sing-along app version of the 2004 book introduces young readers to the creatures of the coral reef. The original book is enhanced by simple, well-executed animations. With a touch or a jiggle, kids can send baby fish swimming, puffer fish puffing and squid squirting ink. After a one-by-one introduction to the featured coral-reef babies from one octopus to 10 seahorses, a "Find the Babies" game brings them all back together for one final count. Backed by music and ocean sounds, the text is read or charmingly sung by the book's multitalented author, or readers can choose to read to themselves. True to the publisher's mission to connect children to nature, the app includes photographs and factual information about the sea life in the story. Artist Canyon explains how she created the illustrations with polymer clay and tools from her kitchen in an accessible way that encourages children to create their own art projects. In fact, counting skills and science aside, her vibrant pictures of the coral-reef habitat are enough to make this app appealing to readers of all ages. With a format that includes science, math, art, music and reading, it still manages to be what learning should be—fun. (iPad informational app. 4-8)”
- Remarkable artwork is constructed entirely from polymer clay! You will want to grab your own colored clay after illustrator Jeanette Canyon explains how she does it.
- Choose between “Read to Me,” “Read to Myself,” and “Sing to Me.”
- Children can touch the animal babies or jiggle the screen to watch them perform their distinctive true-to-life actions (for example, the pufferfish “puff” or the octopus “squirts” dark ink).
- After being introduced to all the animal babies (one octopus, two parrotfish, and so on) the babies "up and swam away!" The child is invited to play a counting game to find them all “from ten to one.”
- Includes a real-life photograph of each animal with interesting information about the species.
- All information is scientifically accurate. The author also explains the wide variety of ways in which animal parents care for their young.
Dawn Publications is dedicated to inspiring in children a deeper understanding and appreciation for all life on Earth.