Thursday, February 2, 2012

But That Wasn't the Best Part

But That Wasn't the Best Part is an e-book created by Jacob Rhodes and written by Jerry Jindrich. I am always in search of a great e-book, as it has been the focus of a lot of my research. I tend to air on the side of "less is more" when it comes to books, so when this book was suggested to me for review as a simple e-book, I thought I had hit the jackpot...
Price: $1.99

Device Requirements: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.Requires iOS 3.0 or later

Developmental Appropriateness: The plot is cute in that it takes place during a parade and each page ends with "but that wasn't the best part..." so it kinda builds you up for the ending - something that little kids seem to like. On each page are a few hotspots. A bit different from other typical hotspots is that these are all sound effects. So you would tap on the words, "Woof, woof" and hear a dog barking. The sound effects in general are pretty good in that it really does sound like a you're at a parade. Rating: 4/5 (aim for around 3 years)

Balance: So what I've described so far is basically it. There isn't much more. The text doesn't highlight, the pictures aren't animated, there are no extra activities or features. And for the most part, that's ok (although I do think text highlighting is important). But this does feel bare-boned, especially when you opt to turn off the read to me function. Then, even the sound effects go away and the hotspots don't work - and I think the sound effects are the highlight of this e-book. Without the sound, I question why one would buy this e-book over buying a traditional book. Overall, it does not seem like this e-book takes advantage of what the "e" part has to offer. So maybe less isn't always more. Finally, there is my pet peeve of being able to stop the text from being read by tapping on a hotspot. Rating: 2/5

Sustainability: So once you find out "what the best part was" at the parade, does this type of plot really keep them coming back? May a few times? Maybe more for kids who like the sound effects? The surprise ending is no longer a surprise. Rating: 2.5/5

Parental Involvement: Being a book automatically gives you a head start on this rating. Parents can elaborate on the parade elements and maybe relate to a parade they've gone to. But again, with the read by myself mode, what is really separating this e-book from a regular book in terms of a parent-child book-reading interaction? Rating: 3.5/5

Total: 12 out of 20 = 3 stars

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