Featuring charming illustrations and a fun storyline, Lazy Bird is a book app that young readers, ages 5-8, will enjoy. It is longer than the average picture book but shorter than a chapter book, filling a unique space in between, for young readers bridging to longer text. The overall length does seem excessive at times, however, indicating a need for additional editing and polishing for this otherwise lovely indie publication.
The story is about a young bird named Frank who overpacks for his flock's trip to Hawaii. There are a lot more details to the plot, but this is the basic story arc, which involves Frank taking many shortcuts out of laziness. He has someone else pack his suitcase and decides to hitch a ride on an airplane rather than exert himself with the trouble of flying. When he arrives at his destination, he then takes advantage of a group of ants who he exploits for their labor.
These messages are not especially positive for kids, unfortunately, and also do not reinforce any positive ethical values, despite the ending message of "to do the right thing is such a pleasure". The actions of the main character are so inappropriate, except at the last moment of the story, that they do not serve to teach a very strong moral message.
There are nice attempts at interactive dialogue with the characters, however they are presented in pop-up windows that do not seem remotely like speech bubbles. The dialogue in these extra additions are also not useful extensions of the story and feel like they were added on at the last minute. I would strongly recommend that the developer bring a professional editor on board for this title and future projects.
I consider book apps in a very flexible environment that is evolving, but with well over 2500 words in this story, it falls into a very difficult territory that restricts a picture book to no more than 500-1000 words total. As a chapter book, this title could be considered based on word-length alone, however the quality of the current text does not rise to the level of a chapter book I could recommend ...
This is, essentially, one of the many dllemmas for digital publishing. Is your title a picture book? Or is it a chapter book or a middle grade fiction title? With proper representation, this story idea could be a much better fit for the market, but currently it is living in a place in-between two genres (picture books & chapter books) with neither hitting a sure-fit. In the short term, I would recommend that the author choose one or the other and try to fit this title into an existing genre by editing the story. In the long-term, I suggest we think about how many words an ebook or book app should have for young readers. With narration as part of the package in most digital offerings, perhaps it's time to re-think word restrictions that limit text to under 1000 characters.
Overall, this is an enjoyable title but one with some major issues. While I enjoy the independent and original story ideas (they are extemely refreshing), it is also vital that new digital works rise to some basic publishing standards. These include a need for standards about the length of text for each genre and an expectation of more significant editing, no matter who the audience might be. Recommended (with reservations).
Note to readers: This review was expedited by the developer for a fee. The content of the rating/review 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.
10 - 15 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 4 - 9 +
From iTunes: Empower your kids to be playful and creative, with a wholesome fun time. Let your imagination fly with the Lazy Bird in this all new children’s adventure.