In one of the cutest digital books to hit the iPad market, Larry the Lazy Lizard manages to get both adults & kids to respond with oohs & aahs despite it's mere 8 pages. There really isn't anything that fancy here, but this is one of the very best examples of how to make a digital book engaging.
The reader interacts with the little lizard character by poking him (and watching him respond). It's the kind of interactivity that enhances the experience of reading. The graphics are simple, but with an old-school book quality that seems more quaint that outdated. The narration & sound effects are also high quality. While an enjoyable re-read, it's a bit short and the magic does wear off once you've seen how Larry reacts to being poked.
The interactive elements cannot be turned off, but they can also only be played once, which combined with the shortness of the book makes this one an acceptable bedtime read. Just be prepared to read it more than once the first time. It's that cute!
The text is all relatively simple words and with the narration off would be fun for beginning readers. You really have to see Larry 'interact' with the reader to understand the enchantment. The extra is a game, called “Leapin' Larry”, that is accessible from the 2nd page (with the credits), so it can easily be skipped, which is important to parents for bedtime reads. It is a very simple game where Larry jumps over obstacles, like rocks, bushes & tree branches. It's very cute (larry is quite expressive for a lizard) and young kids can easily play it.
As an adult, the game wasn't fun for me beyond a few minutes, but it is simple and well made just like the rest of the app. It seems very developmentally suited for young kids though, which is great. It should be fun for the same age group that will like the book (3-8 ).
A separate version of this app was also released for iPhone (the pictures & text are on separate pages). It does not include the extra game, but it enlarges to 2X nicely on an iPad. This book is one of the very few iPad releases to translate surprisingly well on the small screen, so check it out on your iPod or iPhone - it is really adorable! Now also including highlight along with narration, added in 2012.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Wasabi Productions Pty Ltd
4 - 6 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 3 - 8 +
Larry the lizard lies on a rock in the first pages of this book. He is a simple green lizard and at first appears to be a still picture like any other in a picture book. The narrator introduces Larry & suggests to the reader that they should give him a 'poke'. After 'poking' Larry with a tap on the screen, Larry gets up and moves rather indignantly to another part of his rock, lying down with his back to the reader. Over the next few pages, the reader follows Larry around his habitat (a desert scene), poking him a few more times. Larry tries to find some peace & quiet to sleep, several times disappearing off the screen after being poked. At the very last page, the narrator suggests we try STROKING Larry instead of POKING (since the last poke caused Larry to cry). A light sweep of the figer over Larry, instead of tapping him, elicits relief and pleasure from the little lizard. This is the only scene where Larry can be 'animated' twice. Otherwise each page animates only once per page turn. The story is told in simple rhyming lines easy enough for early readers, but enjoyable for all ages.