Olivia is an adorable pig introduced to readers originally through the print books of Ian Falconer a decade ago. This digital title is adapted from a print book published in 2009, based on the more recent animated series from Nickelodeon. In this story Olivia has the chance to be in the school play but is disappointed that she is in a minor role. She handles it with grace and a bit of star power in the end.
The book is solidly made with swipe-style page turns and text in a drop-down box. The text is rather small and I would have liked to see highlighting as narrated, but I did appreciate that you could remove the text to see more of the whole picture. The app also contains an animated video trailer from the Olivia show that lasts approx. 45 seconds.
The narration & music are really delightful, although the interactive animations that are triggered on every page really steal the show (along with Olivia herself). My child and I did have a little difficulty identifying which of the characters to tap, but once discovered, these tappable animations are fantastic. Many of the characters talk and Olivia herself even dances and swings across the stage (using the iPad's motion sensors).
My child eagerly anticipated each scene and especially liked the ones where Olivia and the other characters talk and perform in the play. This interactivity does a nice job reinforcing the storyline as well. I also loved the 1st page with both shapes and numbers that can be tapped - reinforcing some key educational content. Overall this is a terrific little digital book app and well worth a download. In particular, fans of the Olivia series won't want to miss this cute title.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Jodie Shepard/Patrick Spaziante
8 - 14 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: Yes
Age: 3 - 8
Olivia's class is doing a play. Of course, little Olivia wants to be cast as the Fairy Queen, but instead Francine gets the starring role. Olivia is chosen as 'Cow Number 2'. She is glum that night over dinner because her only line is, "Moo". But her father gives her good advice: "It's not what you say; it's how you say it."
So, the next days of play practice show Olivia having real stage presence while her classmates become difficult, forgetting their lines, standing the wrong way or just sneezing a lot. As the day wears on, the whole group becomes better and better. Then Olivia misses her cue. Then she realizes her part is important and suggests 'mooing' more often in the play and even a little dance number. She imagines herself, 'in the spotlight, stealing the show as Cow Number 2.'
On the night of the play, Olivia helps Francine remember her lines and then when her one line comes up at the end, she leaps up and swings from a rope over the painted moon in the background. Her performance is 'wildly' applauded. Later, when she gets to sleep, she moos lightly as she dreams of jumping over the moon.