"The Watering Hole is always good for a laugh," says Turtle to Bird, "But lately the humor has been drying up." So begins the first story in this trilogy, based on the print titles published in 2012 by the talented artist and adventurer Alex Beard. The bird, of course, is barely listening but flies off with the news that the watering hole itself is drying up, sending the Savannah creatures into a panicked version of the children's game telephone. The subtle humor and expressive animal characters make this a story that is as comical as it is instructive.
I had the pleasure of seeing Alex Beard speak (via Skype) on a panel of children's book authors last fall. His presentation was one of the more memorable, full of witticisms and other bits of advice for aspiring eBook creators. I suspect Alex's fans will be delighted with this new publication and hope the book introduces his lovely work to a whole new audience in digital form. Even the cover page, included in the free download, is chock full of hidden surprises. Look closely and you'll notice that all the small animals can be dragged away from the watering hole and placed next to their names in Beard's sketch. My favorite was the leopard who resides in the drawing on a branch in "The Leopard's Tree" of course.
Within the book, the details are just as lovely, featuring light animation that beckons the reader to explore each page carefully. This understated style of enhancement is a seamless fit with the gorgeous sketches and tongue-in-cheek humor. The only real drawback of this app is that the price is a bit misleading, since very little content is present without additional purchases, and not even a sample of the story is included in the initial download. Only the first book in the trilogy is currently available via in-app purchase ($2.99 at time of review), something parents should be aware of, along with several links that leave the app to the web, social media and app store.
Once purchased, this app is solidly made and the storytelling is exceptional. There are easy navigation buttons, a page guide and lots of extra activities for kids who enjoy digital puzzles and coloring pages. The text even highlights as narrated (and the voice over is none-other than the author himself). The games are simple but solidly constructed and based on Beard's award-winning illustrations. Each game has several difficulty levels, ensuring a good fit for children of varying ages. Overall this title is sure to be a hit with young (and old) lovers of animals, art and fables.
Despite an insanely long iTunes name - Tales from the Watering Hole – Interactive Children's Storybooks with Puzzles, Games, and Painting Activities based on the "The Jungle Grapevine", "Monkey See, Monkey Draw" & "Crocodile's Tears" books by Alex Beard - is a great little read. Beard's African animal characters come to life with subtle humor and a well-crafted storyline that will enchant youngsters while letting adults chuckle knowingly in the background.
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.
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.
Fat Red Couch, Inc.
6 - 15 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 4 - 9 +
In this delightful, kid-friendly, super-fun app experience, African animals tell their stories in highly interactive and animated storybooks, as well as have their portraits available in original art watercolor style Painting Pages, Games, and Puzzles. Unique and playful animated illustrations and natural sounds make the animals come alive. Follow the adventures of many of your favorite animals in the African savanna – Lion, Monkey, Elephant, Hippo, Turtle, Rhino, and many more.
Author and illustrator Alex Beard brings his love of exploration and painting to life with his signature animals in these charming stories. His watercolor drawings and stylized illustrations are unique. Based on the award-winning trilogy of children’s books and narrated by the author and illustrator Alex Beard, Tales from the Watering Hole includes three storybooks.
Launching with “The Jungle Grapevine,” that tells the story of eight African animals who learn about the dangers of rumors through an outrageous game of telephone. “The Jungle Grapevine” is followed by “Monkey See, Monkey Draw,” which tells the story of a troop of monkeys and an elephant who learn to paint and draw with their hands and feet in a tale about confronting fears and the discovery of creative expression, and “Crocodile's Tears,” which tells the story of a rhino and a tickbird as well as the endangered animals they encounter on a journey to discover why Crocodile is crying. [Source: iTunes]