Archie And The Mysterious Sphere is a storybook app about an ant that tries to investigate a flying object he sees outside his window one day. The book follows the little ant (who actually has only 4 limbs) on his adventure. This book is the 1st in a series of books about Archie. It has several small animations and fun sound effects. Archie goes into a dangerous land to find the mysterious 'orb' and then investigates the object. The ending is a surprise - see the synopsis for the full story.
This ebook has some fun interactive elements and a nice 'magic wand' in the settings for hints on each page about which items to tap. There are cool spiders that bounce, images that change color with a tap and eyes that move back and forth. The animation and illustrations are nicely done and the app is well-made with easy page turning. I did, however, find the story itself a bit hard to follow with the rhyming verse. It is charming but may be a bit over the heads of young readers. The font is also very small and stylized in a way that makes reading somewhat challenging.
The book has several words that are highlighted on each page and tapping on any of them gives a definition. These 'definitions' are for words that seem rather random, though, and some of the explanations seem a bit more whimsical than educational. For instance, the word "four" is defined by the Beatles or "Fab Four" and "star" has to do with Star Wars. Overall, this is a fun little ebook with cute animated interactivity. It has a unique, original story with the promise of many more to come.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Johan Veldeman/Maarten Albrechts
10 - 12 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 6 - 10 +
Archie is an ant that is fascinated by a white orb he sees fly by his window. He wonders if it is a meteor or a falling star. He is so taken with this flying object that he decides to follow it to where it appears to have landed. This takes him across Fair-a-Way land and on many dangerous adventures. No trespassing is allowed in this land, but he only hesitates before following his curiosity into the unfamiliar territory. As he travels, he imagines all the accolades he will receive when he brings back his treasure. Then he comes upon the large sphere. He still does not know what this enormous, spherical object could be and even wonders if it might be a space ship. He crawls up onto the ball, but no door appears - there is no way in. As he considers going back for his friends, he hears giant footsteps approaching and blocking out the sun. Suddenly, before he can get away, the orb is hit by the giant with a stick. Archie flies with the sphere. And it turns out to be a golf ball!