This is a lightly animated and interactive title that will tickle any child's funny bone! Sparky is a shark that wants to play on the beach without frightening all the people, especially when he sees that there is a sand sculpture contest coming up. His penguin friend tries to help by encouraging Sparky to put on a disguise, but in the end this big-hearted shark gets the best advice from his grandfather.
My child loved this book, including the one small extra where you can put fun disguises on an image of Sparky. The illustrations are delightful, portraying the toothy shark in a way that is anything but scary. Interactivity in this title is a child-pleasing feature, although not much of it enhances the storyline.
I would love to see the addition of highlighting along with the narration, which is delightful with a crisp Australian accent. I also wouldn't mind having a way to make the background music optional; other than that, this is a well-made app with a nice interface. Overall, this is a great original storybook that will appeal to kids on many levels.
Sparky the Shark has an engaging plot, fun enhancements and high-quality sound effects. As a parent, I also loved that this well-crafted story has a message about being appreciated for who you are, not what you look like. Great for shared reading and an excellent title to inspire discussion about being true to yourself.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
7 - 9 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 4 - 9
"No Sharks Allowed!" says a sign at the beach. But Sparky the Shark wants people to not be afraid of him so he can play in the sand and enter the "Sand Sculpture Competition". His friend Dax, a penguin, decides to help him create a less frightening disguise.
First the friends try changing his teeth, then his fin and soon he looks nothing like himself in a full costume. But Sparky's grandpa has other advice, "There's nothing wrong with you Sparky. You're a good shark ... One day people will see that you're not frightening at all. Just be yourself."
On the day of the contest, things are going well until a little girl needs to be rescued in the ocean. Sparky rushes to save her, but his disguise is lost in the process. When he returns to shore with the little girl safe in his arms, the beach goers aren't scared. In fact, when Sparky smiles they react just like his family & friends, with laughter and happiness.
Sparky is a hero now and realizes Grandpa was right. "There's nothing wrong with me," he says at the end, adding "I just had to be myself."