Mousey Housee is one of those book apps that has a lot of unique and innovative aspects. There are video segments tucked within the pages, interactive elements that tie nicely into the storyline and even variations in the book based on the time of day and weather. The app also includes an interactive page with a cell phone where the reader gets to dial the number for emergency rescue of Mousey Housee.
This app features very light animations triggered through tapping. These animations are cute, although not especially related to the storyline. They are also often 'highlighted' in a greyish box that seems unpolished based on my experience with other book apps. The variety of interactions includes a page where the reader calls for help for Mousey Housee on a cell phone, something I liked a lot. I would, however, prefer that it reinforced dialing '911' rather than '112' for readers in the United States.
A small extra is included with this app. Readers can choose three difficulty levels for the game: beginner, observant, and expert. This 'spot the differnence' activity was rather hard on even the beginner level, though, making it difficult for children the target age to become very engaged with this otherwise well-constructed activity. I also found the text of this app to be much too small for young readers (it also does not highlight as narrated).
I did have a few technical problems with this app, as well. Page turn was sometimes a bit touchy (didn't turn rather than turned too easily). I also found the background music to be on a rather annoyingly short loop. When I tried to mute it with the device's volume control, it still didn't stop everytime, possibly a bug since it usually stopped after turning the next page. I also found the changes in the story (based on time of day or weather?) to be a bit confusing, since I would enter the app a few minutes later and sometimes find the first page had a different starting point.
Since there wasn't much info in the app itself about this changing nature of the story, it gave me the impression that I had encountered a bug in the app initially. For such an ambitious change in the way people expect a storybook app to perform, I think it would be useful to have a lot more information in the 'about' section, possibly giving some hints about the time of day & weather that will change the story and ideas about how the story changes so parents/educators can navigate the story more easily and explain the changes to child readers.
Overall, this is an app with a lot of potential. The ability for a digital book to change given the time of day or the weather is a very cool idea, but the implementation still needs some polishing. The storyline is cute (in its many versions), but for a story that seems to be about making good decisions, there didn't seem to be much of a moral message at the end.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
6 - 8 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 5 - 9
Story synopis varies, one version is listed here: Mousey Housee is outside on a winter day and decides she'd like to go out on the ice on a snowboard. A storm errupts once Mousey Housee is on the frozen lake. Soon she is stranded and decides to call for help. Help arrives but soon Mousey Housee realizes that she needs to help Gaggle replace the snowboard she has broken. The two friends work tirelessly to make a new snowboard so Gaggle can continue to offer rentals.