If you poured over the Animalia book by Graeme Base as a child, you will really enjoy 'playing' with this book. I say playing, because this is really not like the experience most of us had with the print edition. It is more like a set of games, based on a print title. A simple copy of the book for reading has been included in a recent update, however, so you can now explore any page, along with a voice-over from the author.
Because this is really a game based on a book, I wasn't able to review it fully in the way I usually review picture books, but I was willing to try. I put 15-20 minutes for time, since that was about the average length of time I could imagine playing it in one sitting, but really you could play & play & play. I am also not sure if it's fair to say this is a really large app, at over 200 MB, since a game of this depth would be impossible in much less space.
The 1st game, Explore Animalia, involves finding the hidden objects in each page, much like the original book. Only this is computer assisted and each page of the alphabet has 4 hidden items for the player to find. A tap at the bottom of the page allows you to see the index of pages and choose any other part of the alphabet at any time, so it's a fun game-book to explore. The hidden objects, if you aren't familiar with this book in print form, are REALLY hidden. This game was often too hard for my 5 year old to do by himself, but we had fun together on several pages.
We had a lot of fun playing the 2nd game, Go Get Graeme, in which the little boy is hiding in a different spot each time you play on any of the 26 pictures. Since Graeme is more visible than the rest of the page (although not always showing his full body) my son could find him with a little effort (time set to slow). This is the best of the games for young kids. The third game is called What in the World ...? and was one I couldn't begin to play because I am not familiar enough with the book to guess where (out of all 26 pages) a tiny item is, but I'm guessing that if you play the other two games and explore the book enough, this game would be the real treat for advanced players. There is a nice clue button that can help, as well.
Since my initial review, not only have they added a way to read the book (with or without narration), but there is also a new game called Butterfly Builder. It is similar to 'hangman' except after you create the word, you then need to then find the object in one of Graeme's detailed illustrations. If you tap the butterfly 'star icon' on the title page, there is a special treat for the 25th Anniversary of the print title - another game feature where you find the butterfly on all 26 pages of the book.
Each page of the lavish artwork from the original book is available for exploration, including the ability to use two fingers to enlarge the pages for closer examination. This is a beautiful game, based on a beautiful book. It's still not a substitute for the extra large print version, but it is a wonderful digital translation. Highly Recommended!
Re-review - original review was published on January 9th, 2011. Overall rating with update went from 4.5 to 5 Stars!
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
15 - 20 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: Yes
Age: 4 - 15 +
Animalia (for both iPhone & iPad) is a collection of three hidden object games, based on the popular alphabet book of the same name, by Grame Base. The YouTube video (under 'Video' tab above) is of the author describing the app himself. A real treat!
From the iTunes description of each game:
GRAEME READS: A read-through of the alliterations by the author, with different animations on every page.
EXPLORE ANIMALIA: Zoom in and find over 150 items scattered through the artwork - learn their names and hear what they sound like.
GO GET GRAEME: Play against the clock - easy, medium or hard. Once you find Graeme, he pops up, waves and heads off to hide again. But next time you look he's hiding somewhere else! Over 150 hiding places.
WHAT IN THE WORLD...?: The most challenging game (provided you can resist tapping for clues). Figure out what the mystery shape is, then go find it in the artwork for maximum points. Complete all 26 pages to reveal the secret sequence of letters and claim your reward.
BUTTERFLY BUILDER: Work out the mystery word to bring the butterfly to life, then head off after it to find the correct object in the pages of the book!
ANNIVERSARY GAME: Find the hidden butterfly star on every page! [Added for the 25th Anniversary of the print title!]