This fun digital storybook under the category "Education" is interactive in a way that not only makes reading fun, but reinforces spelling, reading and sight words. The 'lettermen' themselves are simple but engaging cartoon letters with hands and feet. They are very appealing to kids and have great expressions that match the words they are forming on each page.
This tale has the 'lettermen' going to the zoo. The narration, a British English speaker, is crisp and clear. The Lettermen was a series of books created in the late 1980's by Roger Knights. This book was published in print in 1993. According to the information page in the book, "It was never intended to be an educational system or a challenge to any established teaching methods, but both parents and teachers have found that the simple Lettermen stories are useful in showing children how letters form words and words have meanings."
This book has simple settings (tap on the bottom to see them). Page turning 'hands' appear in the upper right and left corners of each page. Tap on the middle 'hand' on the top of any page to trigger the interactive game. The child then needs to touch and drag the lettermen into the right order to spell the word(s) from the page. The word itself appears on the screen as a guide. A small hand on the bottom in the middle lets you quickly exit the game, although it is sometimes hard to see with all the letters bouncing about.
The controls, while plentiful, are a bit touchy. Once you and your child get used to them, this book series is a great addition to any educational e-library for young readers. The spelling game portion of the app is a lot of fun and reinforces the storyline and a different word or phrase on each page. Touch and drag the letters and watch them bounce. They click into place and when the whole word or phrase has been spelled properly, it says "well done" (spelled out in 'lettermen').
Even without the game, this storybook is perfectly delightful as a standalone app book. And it's particularly nice looking on the iPad, which shows off the fun lettermen and their crazy expressions much better that the small screen ever could. The illustrations are engaging, enhance reading comprehension and recognition of 'sight' words.
[The youtube video below is of The Lettermen go to a party.]
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
12 - 20 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 3 - 6
The Lettermen go to the Zoo in this title. First they are EXCITED to see all the different animals at the very BUSY zoo. At FIRST they were unsure about which exhibit to visit, deciding on the MONKEYS. The monkeys TAKE a banana from one lettermen while the others so see the LION who was very FIERCE. When seeing the elephant, they only wished they'd brought him MORE bread since he was nice enough to give them a RIDE on his back. The GIRAFFE was next, then a SNAKE and sea lion who they let CATCH fish they brought. They can't find the SHY panda so they visit the parrots instead, but they hate all the NOISE. Soon they have to head HOME and since they didn't see everything, they will have to come back AGAIN.
[Words above in caps are also part of the spelling activity in the book.]