This app is based on The Old Man and the Edible Suit, the first book by illustrator Jon Higham, published in 1986 (now out-of-print). It is beautifully illustrated with lots of whimsical detail ... the kind where you notice new things every time you page through it. Readers will find the nonsensical, nineteenth century Edward Lear poem, The New Vestments, gets a nice treatment, including light animation and plenty of finger-tapping interactivity. The crazy old man who wears edible clothes will amuse today's children as much as it did over the past century, only in a more interactive way.
As a digital offering, this book has lots of great settings to adjust the sound and navigate through the app. Lovely narration with either a North American or British accent is available, as well as Dutch. Words highlight and magnify as narrated; the book is also enjoyable in several flexible reading modes including autoplay. Note: Under the 'more' option on the title page, there are several links that leave the app.
The light animation in this title is well done, enhancing the storyline nicely. Interactivity is less consistent, providing lots of fun things to tap but sometimes distracts from reading/listening. Sound effects can also play ad nauseam which may drive some adults to silence the app. I would recommend reading through the first time without tapping too much, if you can resist. It is a very fun book, though, and on subsequent reads the interactive elements are less likely to distract from story comprehension.
A couple fun extras are included with this app. There is a single coloring page that is a bit underwhelming, however the second extra makes up the difference easily. It is a great word activity that lets kids drag and drop letters to spell the names of animals like 'cat', 'rooster', 'duck' and 'ape'. This is a great extension activity to add to a digital book app, reinforcing basic literacy skills for young readers. It includes 10 different words (see synopsis tab above for the full list of animals).
Overall, this is a delightful book app. It is takes a well-crafted children's poem that has stood the test of time, adds lovingly hand-detailed illustrations, and then presents it all on a platform that brings both together, nicely integrating modern digital storytelling techniques. Highly recommended.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Edward Lear/Jon Highham
6 - 15 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 3 - 9
English • Dutch •
Full text of Edward Lear's poem, The New Vestments:
The word game included has the following words to spell:
cat, dog, duck, rooster, ape, goat, cow, hen, pig, goose