A tiger cub named Delilah tells this story in the first person, about her experiences with her big sister, Sophie. The two kittens have a lot of fun together and have a lot in common, but like most siblings, they also fight. This is an exceptional book app for toddlers and pre-school aged kids, up to age six. It has a very simple interface and interactivity that is fun but simple enough for little fingers.
Touchable elements are time-limited on each page, meaning the interactivity is not something a young child can play with 'ad infinitum' ... which is perfect for an app for kids under three. The interactive elements are not especially story-related, however, meaning they can present a distraction for reading comprehension for many young children. Narration is included, that highlights nicely word-for-word, although it has a slight echo and is less polished (in both English & Spanish), than an app done with a professional voice-over.
The story itself is very charming, although somewhat formulaic, showing two tiger girls as siblings who do not always agree. The natural relationship of siblings is shown throughout the pages of this title in such a genuine way, however, that it is hard not to love this book. My 5-year-old child was particularly impressed with the simplicity of this narrative and also the very obvious ways in which these two cats behave like 'animals' when they disagree.
Often, anthropomorphizing characters in a story like this would eliminate most of the 'animal' aspects of the tiger cubs' personalities, but this book has a much more original and realistic way of showing these tiger-siblings. Delilah and Sophie 'growl' at each other when mad (snapping their tails with ears bent down), and in one scene, they even devolve into a full cat-fight, rolling around in a ball of flying claws. As a household with several real cats as members of our family, this aspect of the story was not only charming but had a nice transferable lesson, since human children often behave 'like animals' when fighting with their close-in-age siblings, cousins or even peers.
The images in this book are a mixed experience, however. The characters are all hand-drawn, but most of the backgrounds and other objects (like the kite & trampoline) are done with computer graphics, creating illustrations that don't feel well-integrated visually. The soft, organic edges of the tiger cubs (along with their vibrant colors), stand in stark contrast to the background of their neighborhood, showing identical, hard-edged housing units that lack any warmth. This visual set-up is not terribly important to young readers, but it is likely to strike any adult, reading along, as a jarring inconsistency.
Overall, though, this is a fun tale worth a download for very young readers and listeners. It is also a stellar title for foreign language learning, featuring very simple sentences with well-articulated narration in both English & Spanish. Words can also be tapped to hear them pronounced again after the narration finishes on each page. While older readers may find fault with the technical presentation of this book, most kids under six will find this app irresistible. Sisters may particularly identify with this story, especially the complexity of the sibling relationship. Visual and interactive elements are adequate for the developmental age of the audience, but could use better integration with the narrative. Recommended.
Note to readers: This review was expedited by the developer for a fee. The review's content is the same, but timing of publication has been prioritized.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Dorothy Thurgood Manning
33 Loretta Kids' Books LLC
6 - 8 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: Yes
Age: 2 - 5
English • Spanish •
Delilah, a tiger cub, introduces herself and her big sister, Sophie. Delilah looks up to her big sister, but Sophie says that she just gets in the way. For instance, Delilah is still learning to ride a bike, using training wheels, while Sophie can ride a "two-wheeler". Sophie also rides the school-bus by herself and doesn't need help getting strapped into her car seat. These things make it hard for the sisters to get along.
Sometimes, Delilah tries to imagine things she can do that no one else can do ... but in reality there is one thing she can do better than her sister ... Delilah can do a 'combination front and back walkover'. Sophie doesn't want to learn how to do one, though, since it means learning something from her 'little' sister.
This leads to a fight between the girls and their mother has to give them a time out. Delilah knows that Sophie loves her, however. She notices that when they are out on the street, Sophie sticks up for her whenever there are bullies. Sophie also helps get Delilah out of a tree, whenever she gets stuck. And sometimes ... Sophie even plays with Delilah ... having fun together in a way only sisters can.
The book ends with Delilah saying, "She loves me! She's my big Sister!"