This is a cute original story with a tiny bit of animation and lots of cool interactivity. There are scenes where the reader picks the things that don't belong, others that match shapes and much more. Every few pages there is something different and fun. The interactivity is superb, with many scenes where the reader gets to 'help' Wolfie to move the story along. There are even four different 'machines' that can be 'invented' for slightly different endings to the book.
Wolfie is a little boy who wants to be an inventor. He wants to build a laughing machine. First he studies pictures of people laughing for clues about how to make someone laugh. He gets uncontrollable giggles just trying to figure it all out, even. Then he works on a drawing, organizes his tools and sets about to make his invention a reality.
Since Wolfie admires inventors, the book even gives a thumbnail sketch of famous inventors. Then, Wolfie works hard in his workshop, countdowning down 1-2-3 to show off his new laughing machine. Will it make the reader laugh? It certainly put a big smile on my little boy's face. He particularly liked getting to push buttons, choose doors, help put tools away, etc. This is a book where the child really drives the story by being involved physically with the page.
The book isn't perfect, though. The narration, while charming with accented English, would be better with a more articulate native speaker. There were also a few places that the wording seemed awkward, although the book was always understandable. Some pages had a bit of a delay for the interactions (like when you 'shout' to get Wolfie to stop laughing). Plus there is an 'abrupt' feel to the story's flow when the section about the real inventors is presented, feeling like a book within a book but without any segues.
But these imperfections stand out, in part, because the illustrations, story and overall concept are so good. Even without any changes, it's a very enjoyable book app that draws the child into the story on every page. It's a frequent request at my house and one that I enjoy reading aloud to my child. In English & Dutch.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
ianka Fleerackers/Pim Braeckevelt
Ianka Fleerackers & Co GCV
8 - 12 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 4 - 10
English • Dutch •
Wolfie is a five year old boy who is also an inventor. He dreams up the greatest inventions at night and then wakes up to build his ideas. The reader gets to wake Wolfie up by choosing from a horn, wind or water to startle the boy. Then the reader picks the right door for Wolfie to go downstairs. Then the reader taps three things wrong in the kitchen before helping Wolfie make his new invention - a laughing machine.
Wolfie first studies pictures of people laughing and finds out what kinds of things make people laugh. This process causes Wolfie himself to laugh uncontrollably. He then draws up his plans, letting the reader pick from one of four possible laughing machines. He even reflects on the work of several great inventors to precede him, like Leonardo da Vinci & Isaac Newton.
After a lot of sawing in his workshop, Wolfie's invention is ready. It has a stop & start button. The reader can push either one to start the silly machine in action. It's so silly the reader is bound to at least smile. Kids might even laugh out loud. The end.