Splosh is a colorful iPad book offering under the category "games". This counting book (1-9) uses an animated 'splosh' of color to move the story along. First 'Splosh' escapes from a spilled paint bottle and then gets chased by a little boy and his cat from page to page, finally being caught after creating quite a bit of mayhem. He knocks juggling balls out of a clown's hands, turns a fire engine green and upsets a wheelbarrow full of watermelons.
Each of these pages is very interactive, right down to the red bottle in the bottom right hand corner that turns the pages by splashing green paint over the page for every page turn. It wasn't immediately obvious how to turn the pages, but once you realize the bottle is in place of page turning arrows, it is easy to navigate. The first 4 pages feature a blank paper you can 'paint' on, but only with the colors on the little palette. Slightly better instructions would make the start of this story much easier to figure out, because once you do, it's a fun, colorful journey with Mr. Splosh.
The story is cute, but the interactive elements are the real treat in this ebook, with dogs that catch Splosh with their teeth, balls and other items that can be flicked or moved using the iPad's sensor, little spiders that can be slid up and down their strings, a 'castle' with windows that light up with a tap and a fence where every post plays a different piano chord (and the birds perched on each one animate a tiny bit when tapped). My son especially liked getting to rub the fire engine to 'wash' off the green paint and return it to red.
This book is packed with activities, although I wouldn't mind having a little more integration with the counting aspect of the book. On the page with the 'castle' I improvised by having my child count all the windows, then all the square windows, then just the half-circles, since there wasn't anything else to do beyond clicking lights on and off in 9 places randomly. This isn't a huge deal, just an idea to make the title more educational and integrate the interactivity a bit more into its storyline about numbers. I would also love to be able to navigate through a menu of pages, since some of the activities (like the birds on musical fence posts) are engaging as a stand-alone activity.
In addition, I found that the sound effect when tapping 'Splosh' became annoying after the first few pages (he says "he he" every time he is tapped). Just having a bouncing sound would be a fine substitute for a parent's ears, at least. The voice of the little boy would also be much better if it was an actual child or even a male voice, since the narrator gives it a flat, odd quality. By the second time we read this book, both my son and I just naturally tapped less on the boy anyway, so this doesn't really interfere with the story.
One bit of advice for the final scene - it doesn't work if the iPad isn't lying perfectly still on a table. The narrator says to put the 9 pieces of "Splosh" back together, but if you are holding the iPad, which is how we usually read books, then the 'Splosh' pieces come together on their own long before you can touch the screen.
Overall this is a cute, interactive and fun little storybook with lots of activities embedded in its simple story about numbers. It could easily be in the "Educational" or "Books" category, so if you haven't been digging around the games category lately, this title is definitely worth a look!
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
6 - 20 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: Yes
Age: 3 - 8
Splosh is a little blob of color that gets away from Ken, a little boy in this digital storybook. Ken and his cat need to chase the green splosh from page to page as "Splosh" gets into trouble. He bounces against one a fire truck, making it green instead of red. Then he bounces through a playground and onto a teeter-totter with two (2) bunnies on it before bouncing off again onto a piece of cheese carried by 3 mice. All the while Ken & his cat are unable to catch him. The story continues with this number theme, including 4 dogs, a clown with 5 juggling balls, 6 spiders, 7 birds, 8 watermelons and finally having Splosh himself break into 9 pieces. Ken and his cat finally catch him, putting the 9 pieces back together.