Based on the classic 1982 Rod Campbell title, Dear Zoo is an adorable and beautifully enhanced book app that takes the very best of a traditional 'lift-the-flap' title in print and brings it to digital seamlessly. Children will enjoy this story, about a child who writes to the zoo to send a new pet, but each animal is not quite right for different reasons. A fun matching game is also included, letting kids match the animals in the book to the words used to describe them - like "too scary" or "too big". Eventually a perfect pet is sent to the youngster, one that is just right.
This app is well made and intuitive to use, but it does lack some of the settings and features that book app reader have come to expect. There is no pageguide or highlighting with the narration or really any other settings beyond the page-turning arrows. Some pages are less easy to exit after revealing the animal, requiring the user to tap for several scenes of 'play' (like with the puppy and ball that he fetches - it's very cute but somewhat unclear when this sequence is suppose to end).
The details in this app are extraordinary though, and worth every penny. Children will love exploring the sounds and features of each animal, including: Elephant, Giraffe, Lion, Camel, Snake, Monkey, Frog, and finally a Puppy. The monkey was by far my favorite. If you tap near him as he is swinging on the page, he grabs your fingers on either side in a way that is guaranteed to elicit "oohs & ahhs". The puppy is also truly adorable, fetching the ball when you fling it off screen. This is a great way to introduce digital kids to the fun found in the original flip-book and a fun app to share with a parent or caregiver!
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.
8 - 12 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 3 - 5 +
Open the crates from the zoo and find a BIG elephant, a TALL giraffe, a very FIERCE lion – and much more! Call out the animal names and noises, and discover the touch-activated animations. Fun for all the family, this app is perfect for cuddling up with and sharing again and again. What will the zoo send you? [Source: iTunes]