Published simultaneously in print this fall by the Minnesota Historical Society, this is a remarkable title that has all the charm of a traditional print picture book with just the right enhancement to make a stellar digital storybook. A little boy tells the story in the first person, explaining that he wanted a little brother, but hadn't expected him to grow to be as big (or even bigger) than himself so quickly. But when his 'big little brother' scares off a bully at the daycare, this big brother feels much more tolerant of his little brother's shenanigans.
Big Little Brother is one of those book apps that stands out for a combination of endearing illustrations, well-crafted storytelling and excellent enhancement in digital form. Every animation and interactive element doesn't just enhance the app but also enhances the story itself. Drag the little boy across the screen to see his brother follow him, watch the little brother grow to be as big as his older sibling and even laugh as the little brother's clenched fists release a trail of donut crumbs.
Nice narration (although no highlighting) and easy to read print round out this solidly-made book app with simple, swipe-style page turning. The book is lightly animated and interactive, keeping young readers engaged without distracting them from the storyline. Simple settings allow for easy navigation with a page guide and home button. There isn't a setting for reading without narration, which would be a nice addition for a future update.
Overall this is a top notch storybook app for the iPad and I highly recommend it, especially for siblings in a similar situation. I don't usually comment on price, since it changes so often for book apps, but the current price point is the only difficulty I find with this app. Starting at $9.99 and recently dropping to $7.99 still puts this book app above the price of almost 99% of the apps in this category. I think it is an exceptional app and definitely worth a paid download, but a permanent price point of closer to $2.99 - $4.99 would be much more reasonable based on current market offerings.
[This review is dedicated to my little boy's best friend Connor (and his 'big little brother' Sean)! ♥ ]
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Kevin Kling/Chris Monroe
Minnesota Historical Society Press
8 - 10 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 3 - 8
A young boy wanted a little brother but when he arrived a surprise was in store ... not only was the little brother not quite ready to play with him the way he'd expected, but his 'little' brother grew, and grew until he gets mistaken as the 'older' brother sometimes.
But despite his disappointment (and the little brother constantly getting in the way and playing with his older brother's toys), this older brother comes to appreciate the value of a big little brother - they are family after all!
From the Minnesota Historical Society, "This charming first children’s book by celebrated storyteller Kevin Kling, with whimsical drawings by Chris Monroe, traces a familiar arc from sibling rivalry to brotherly love."