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Becky B.

Status: Beta reviewer - Video Reviewer

Categories of apps she/he wants to review: Books - Education - Entertainment - Lifestyle - Photography - Productivity - Utilities - Other

iDevices she/he owns: iPad1- iPhone4

Description: I'm a stay at home mom to a 4 year old. My child and I use our iPad together daily so I'm always looking for worthwhile educational apps. We're particularly interested in apps that are multi- or bilingual (French) or that teach kids science (physics, chemistry, anatomy, plant life, space exploration, etc.), art, math, geography or music.

Profile categories: Can test apps with kids ages 3-5 - Teaching kids ages 3-5

Date when her/his profile was validated: 2012-08-08

User who invited him/her: Jean-Eudes L.

Total review Karma: + 4     ?

Each time a developer thinks a review from a reviewer is useful, he give to this reviewer +1 in review Karma. The more Karma a reviewer has, the better her/his reviews are assessed!


Her/His app reviews

PrestoBingo Shapes v1.4 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked This is a fun app that is challenging enough to stump a young child but not overly frustrating. The animations upon completion are cute and the drawings themselves are appealing. I like the inclusion of semicircles and trapezoids as slightly less common shapes represented in kid's apps.
Improvements It certainly needs more levels and shapes (e.g., crescent, hexagon, octagon, etc.) to remain engaging. After a few levels, the shapes repeat using the same pictures which can get old quickly. It's somewhat difficult to play on the iPhone (easier on the iPad) simply due to the size of the images, without magnification. Also, on the rectangle level, some of the rectangles are only slightly differentiated from squares and might be hard for kids to figure out. It would be nice to see varying difficulty levels on the main menu to widen its appeal.
General review Overall, this is a fun app that would be best suited for kids around age four and under. Kids above that age may get bored quickly as there are very few levels. This could be remedied through more levels, varied difficulty options and more shape choices.

Animal Puzzle for Kids and Toddlers [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked The pictures are cute, universally appealing and inviting for toddlers or very young children. There is a bit of variation with the number of puzzle pieces and type of pieces (whole animal versus geometric shape). The lack of background music is also nice as sometimes it's refreshing to have a "quiet" app.
Improvements There's not a lot to see here that I haven't seen numerous times before. The interaction with the balloons, while maybe fun once or twice would ONLY be fun once or twice. Why not change it up with bubbles, stars, flowers, sports balls, something else to keep the payoff for completing the puzzle interesting. Also, since I'm in the room when my daughter plays her apps, there's a finite number of times I'm going to listen to the exact same applause before asking her to play something else.
General review I feel like I've seen this app many many times in the past. Easy puzzle, identical brief interaction with applause, next puzzle. Nothing about this particular version stands out above the others or would encourage me to pay $1.99 for 18 additional puzzles. I could see charging $.99 right off the bat for all 23 puzzles but the current structure doesn't hold a lot of appeal to me as a mom who's in charge of the app purchasing.

Heidi story collection - 3 in 1, Version 1.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked What a cool app! The narration was well-paced and nice to listen to. There are a number of relevant activities that expound on elements of the story (goats, wildflowers, etc.) as well as games. I liked the multilingual aspect of the app and that there are three full length stories. There's a lot to explore so it has a long shelf life and won't get stale or boring quickly. The dual approach to the story (1st and 3rd person narratives) is a novel idea.
Improvements The price point is a bit steep, although the app offers a lot for what they're asking. Under normal circumstances, I would be hesitant to spend that much on a non-educational app for my child. That said, I'm happy with the app as is but it would be nice if it were supported on the iPhone. The app has enough material to keep a child occupied for quite a while so it's a good take-along activity. I would also recommend an update to the games every once in a while as the spot the difference type games are pretty much useful only once.
General review Overall, I think this is a worthwhile app with a lot going for it. I would be more comfortable paying $5.99-$6.99 for an app like this but I'm happy I purchased it and will probably reread the stories myself as I haven't read them since childhood! I look forward to seeing more apps of this quality from this developer.

Puss in Boots : Interactive 3D Pop-up Fairy Tale v1.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked Wow! What a cool app! The games are fun and engaging, the story is gorgeously illustrated and the 3D effect when the iPad is tilted is fantastic. There are plenty of activities that relate to the story. The narration is pleasant. My daughter was fascinated with the story. Great job!
Improvements There's very little to critique here. I actually had to ask my child what she would like to see and the only criticism she had was about the Spin the Wheel game. She prefers to have the option of giving a charachter whichever head she chooses. For example, she wondered why she couldn't give the girl in the dress the cat's head. Small complaint but maybe something to consider.
General review Overall, I was really impressed by this app. I feel it was well-executed and had a nice balance between telling a classic story and offering games that relate to the storyline. It doesn't look thrown together like many apps I've seen. You get way more than you pay for out of this app.

The Friendly Ogre [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked The artwork is visually striking. At first, it doesn't look as though there is much beyond the text and art, but the interactive animations on each page add value to the app. The background music is pleasing and unobtrusive. Because of it's longer text, Shakespearean references and somewhat advanced storyline, this story could appeal to a range of ages. Younger kids will like the read-along option and older kids will enjoy the story in more depth. The French version makes it worth more than the $1.99 price.
Improvements Each time I touch "Contents," the row of pages starts at pages 12-13 rather than page 1. It would be nice if the button that turns off sounds only turned off the music and not the narration as well. I prefer not to have any social media links on my kid's apps so the Facebook icon isn't all that great. Lastly, as a wish list item - it would be nice if the reader could touch a word and have that word narrated. I've seen that on several apps and it's nice for a competent reader who may just be unfamiliar with a single word but who doesn't need the full story narration.
General review A young intelligent girl finds herself re-examining her preconceived notions of ogres as well her own place in the story. The artwork is bold and interactive. In addition to the English version it is also presented in French, which is fantastic for those of us who are teaching our kids a second language. The story might be a good jumping off point for reading Romeo and Juliet with your child as there are many references to it. Highly recommended!

Fire Station 1.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked The concept for this app is fantastic! The videos are as entertaining as they are educational. I like that the narrators of the videos don't talk down to kids; they simply provide clear information. The bakery video was a nice addition as well. The music is catchy. I love that the "main character" bunny is a girl as so often anything dealing with police/fire/rescue is geared toward boys.
Improvements While the scaled down look of the app is nice, it winds up being so simple that there's not much to it. There are no games and not enough interaction to keep kids coming back. How about adding an interactive phone so kids can practice dialing 911? There's a house and a building that are just part of the background. They could be animated in some way to create an emergency scenario (fire, medical emergency, etc.) where the app user could be prompted to dial 911. There needs to be a bit more to it to justify the price. It should also be usable on the iPad1. Lots of untapped potential here.
General review This is a cute app that provides kids with valuable fire safety information as well as educating them in a general way as to how fire stations and their equipment work. Future versions need to provide more interaction to keep kids engrossed and to make the app price appropriate for the content. There is a lot of room for growth with this app if the developer chooses to take advantage of it!

Tic Toc Time: Break down the day to learn how to tell time [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked Seriously, this is a fantastic app. A lot of basic but important material is covered in a fun and entertaining way. The animation is cute, the music isn't overly annoying like some kids games and the app comes in many languages (a huge bonus for our multilingual household). I also like the integration of environmental themes.
Improvements Just a few details to mention: the app appears as Tic Tac Time rather than Tic Toc Time on my phone. The compass game says you've found a compass point even if you're 10-15 degrees off. The loading screen looks as though it's freezing a lot; perhaps a less graphic intensive loading screen would avoid that. Though it's a cute characteristic of the beaver, the lisping isn't a great idea as it could teach kids to mimic the lisp, which can be hard to correct later on. Also, the information on the Montessori garden reads like an ad for an different app rather than just providing background info.
General review This app is a fun way for kids to learn to tell time, use a compass, understand somewhat abstract (from a kid's point of view) ways to speak about time - such as quarter past, etc. - and understand the relationship between shadows and the sun. For the price, I feel the app could use more levels of each game but I'm still glad to have this one.