One day, while a little boy and his sister are eating breakfast, they hear on the news that the sun will only last another '4.8 billion years'. "The boy thought this didn't sound like a lot," begins this funny, lightly animated and interactive tale that will have curious children riveted. The two main characters solve the sun's dilemma (although not in a scientific way), in this deeply satisfying story that young readers won't soon forget.
Fun things to tap and explore pop out on every page, providing lots of fun ways to engage with the story, including many that are nicely tailored to the plot-line. These elements are simple but satisfying most of the time, however they are not consistently tied to the narrative and can be played indefinitely (even interrupting the narration), so some younger children may find them a distraction to reading comprehension, especially on the first time through the book.
There is also an active link from the first page and huge button on the last page that goes to the developer's website. I found myself having to restart the book repeatedly while trying to review it, even. In consideration of young kids, I would suggest this be removed or at least buried under a setting menu and an 'ask button' added is recommended, before the link leaves the app (a nice touch, even for adult users).
Otherwise, the app has nice settings, including simple arrow page turn arrows at the bottom corners. The font is nice, easy-to-read and has highlighting as narrated in a lovely female British English accent. Words can be touched to hear them again, and objects can also be tapped to hear their name. There is, however no way to turn the background music (on a loop) or sound effects off, even in 'read by myself' mode. A home button makes returning to the beginning easier, although there is no page guide and the app does not re-set to the beginning after being closed and re-opened.
Overall, though, this is one of the most delightful and original book apps to come across my tablet in several months and a great download for lovers of storytelling of all kinds. It is charming, beautifully illustrated and full of delightful interactive and animated touches that children and adults can enjoy together. Recommended.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Vincent Moran/Caitlin Pinner
GotFocus Solutions Ltd
6 - 8 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 3 - 8
One day a young boy overhears on the news that the sun will go out some day and he begins to worry. He and his sister decide they are going to help by borrowing their a rocket ship. The two kids blast off, getting all the way to the sun, where they find a battery pack and put new batteries inside the sun to keep it going. It was much brighter after that and the next day on the news, the reporter said, the sun will last much longer than they first thought.