When my daughter was very little, she tried to understand her place in a world dominated by a capable, confident big sister. Repeatedly, she wondered, “What’s special about me?” Children want to know what makes them special, and when they find out, they tend to be happier and more content. Extraordinary Jenny Jones is a great story app to enjoy with a child age 3-10 who wants to discover what being unique is all about.
Extraordinary Jenny Jones by Paperplane, is designed specifically for the iPad (version 2 or later). It has the features we have come to expect in high quality storybook apps, namely a Read to Me option with a professional narrator, interesting and clever interactive elements embedded within its pages, and imaginative and detailed artwork. The main character, Jenny Jones, is like millions of other children all around the world, that is, with one exception. “Where others see circles, little Jenny sees squares.”
Her story is one of recognition and acceptance of individual differences. Throughout the story, you will find puzzles; objects in each puzzle change from round to square when tapped, showing your child what the world looks like through Jenny’s eyes. Once all the round objects become changed, the puzzle becomes filled with color.
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Not all children are the same. As a matter of fact, no two children, not even identical twins, possess exactly the same characteristics, likes and dislikes, sensitivities, and preferences. Extraordinary Jenny Jones works on two levels. On the literal level, we see a child who sees squares rather than circles. This theme is repeated on nearly every page, where your child is able to point to all the round objects and magically turn them into squares. The unexpected sight of a square apple or a square bicycle tire will tickle your child’s imagination. Taking advantage of the teachable moment, you might ask, “What if your bike had square wheels?” or “Would you eat a square apple?” The deeper meaning, and the one on which I would focus with older children, is that the world is big enough to include lots of different viewpoints. Younger children aren’t able to change their perspective, but older children start to make that shift around 5 or 6 years old.
Overall, Storybook apps are starting to take their rightful place in the App Store. In order for a storybook app to be successful, however, it must meet certain criteria. A compelling story is an important component, along with rich graphics and fun, interactive surprises. The story in Extraordinary Jenny Jones is a bit uneven and lacks depth, but it overcomes some of these drawbacks with its wonderful, interactive elements. I especially liked the square-wheeled bicycles and the Ferris (Square) Wheel. I also think the author could have played up Jenny’s frustration a little more at the beginning. The whole point of the story is to recognize and understand how unsettling it is to be told you’re wrong, just because you don’t see things as others do. Your child will enjoy the world of Extraordinary Jenny Jones. It helps answer that important question, “What’s special about me?”
This review was originally published by FunEducationalApps.com on May 16, 2013. Written by Julie Peterson, a speech/language pathologist (SLP) currently working in a school setting, serving children with special needs age 6-14. Many of her students, like little Jenny Jones, look at the world through different eyes.
The founder of Fun Educational Apps is Nathalie van Ee, a mom of three who is always looking for top apps to support kids learning the fun way! She created Fun Educational Apps as a way to help parents, educators and teachers discover great apps. Together with her kids, they try new apps on an ongoing basis.
This app has been thoroughly evaluated by our staff. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how it fared in all nine of our rating categories. See synopsis tab for more details about the storyline.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
John Sheterline/Bernie Quah
Paperplane Pilots Pte Ltd
8 - 12 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: Yes
Age: 3 - 8
Extraordinary Jenny Jones is an original interactive story about a little girl who sees the world through totally different eyes. What everyone else sees as round, Jenny Jones sees as square. And the other way round. It’s a heart-warming children’s tale with a universal theme about believing in yourself no matter how different you feel about things. Or see the world.