The "Violet" books are on many top lists, including top grossing iPad books, which can give a book high expectations. This one is particularly nice because it really engages the child in the best kind of way, as part of the story's plot. The child gets to set the clock forward an hour for Violet's escapades in this, the first book of the series. The interactive clues are set up in a very thoughtful way that draws the child into the story itself.
A few things could be improved in a future update. Since each page has a play button, but no auto-play, it can be a bit much to keep turning the audio on, page after page. At first I also didn't like the way this book series puts a 'dotted-line' around all the elements that serve as clues to the mystery. It seemed to take the magic out of discovering where the interaction might be. But after watching it a few times, with and without my child, I noticed 'hidden' animations, as well.
I also realized that it was really nice for my child to have some idea of what 'clues' were important to understand the plot. I wouldn't mind having the dotted lines be optional, maybe for 'hints' to lengthen the play time for children on their own, especially. But, overall, we really enjoyed the story in this book, and this app meets all the most important standards for stability, ease of use and lots of educational value.
This book series also stands out in that it is enjoyable for slightly older readers, a trend I'm noticing as books get more complicated for readers who might like to explore a topic more deeply. There are several books in the Violet series and I look forward to reading more of her adventures soon.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Black Dog Books, LLC
8 - 10 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: Yes
Age: 4 - 10
This book takes children on an adventure to solve a mystery with a little girl about age 10-12, although the book is aimed at younger readers who might look up to Violet. The developer's site describes Violet's 'secret' this way: "In a small, peaceful neighborhood, a wonderfully curious and clever girl is about to get herself into a bit of mischief. Her name is Violet and she has a very secret 'SECRET.' When Violet ties on her black satin mask she becomes Phantom Girl, the world’s most daring experimenter!"
In this, her 1st iPad adventure, Violet determines to see if changing her families clock forward one hour will change the world. And it does! At first it seems nothing has changed, except that everyone in her family seems extra tired. But then when she gets to school she discovers no one there but her and her sister. Her dad is also an hour early to work. As a result he gets a promotion. Her sister spends her extra hour studying in the library before school and gets an "A" on her test. And Violet's mom uses her extra hour to bake a pie for the family. The book ends with Violet wondering, "What experiment will Phantom Girl try next?" You'll have to read the next book to find out!