Oh hey, guys! This is the first time I’ve ever been give a thing to review for my blog! Like, the makers of this app actually emailed me and said “Hey, we’d like you to check out this thing” and I kinda looked over my shoulder to make sure they were really talking to me. So, there’s that. I was given the app for free, but was not otherwise compensated for any of this nonsense. You can purchase the app yourself for 99c this week in the app store in honor of the iPhone rollout. (I myself played on the iPad.) If you want to contact me with other things you would like me to review relevant to my interest (apps, books, fine cheeses) you can do that too. My email is in the thingy that says “About.”
So, Pandora. She’s a panda. Or rather, a Beribolt. Which is like the same thing as a panda except make believe. This app is a storybook format app telling the tale of Pandora’s decision to make a big journey. I assume that this is Part One of a larger story, but even so it stands up well on its own.
The story is told page by page – you can toggle the narration on the menu (seen above) and there is also text highlighted word by word on the bottom of the screen and you can bring that box up or minimize it as well. This makes it both great for the learning-to-read crowd and the younger crowd that just wants to hear stories.
The lines on the lefthand side of the box bring up the page menu, which allows you to choose any page in the story without having to go in order. If you have a tot that has a specific favorite page or two, s/he can easily pick it over and over and over again based on the screenshot. It’s also very easy to navigate to the next page with the big arrow button. Unlike some other story book apps I’ve used, you can hit “next” without waiting for the “action” on the page to finish.
The actions are fairly simple, but not necessarily intuitive enough for a toddler. Paulo really loved the boomerang page (shown below) (that is indeed his broccoli trophy – he was better at this than I was) but didn’t really grok the rest of the actions. I tried showing him how to move the Beribolts around, but he mostly just kept tapping them and saying “bear!”
I really loved this app, I think it’s adorable. However, I also think that The Whuff is on the very young end of the age spectrum for this. Toddlers who like reading more than he does (THAT WOULD BE ALL OF THEM. This kid has no patience for stories.) might get into hearing the story, it’s hard to say. Older kids would have a much easier time following the instructions – though it’s not necessary to do so in order to play with the app. Even if you don’t do what the directions are telling you to do, you can still tap on things and make things happen. Some clouds rain snacks – you can feed ice cream to carnivorous plants, etc. The actions are really pretty cute. And you can always skip to the next page if your kid can’t figure out what to do in a particular scene.
I personally give it two thumbs up. Paulo gives it “I will play with the boomerang for three minutes and NOW I WOULD LIKE ELMO RETURNED TO ME I SAID NOW.” It should be mentioned both that he’s extremely fussy and is having a cranky day in which not even the big red car at the playground could soothe his troubled soul. I’m definitely keeping the app around to try it again sometime – it seems like in the right setting (like when he needs distraction from the horrors of things like MOM IS DOING THINGS WHY IS SHE DOING THINGS), he could definitely have some fun with it. I would highly recommend it to any kid who enjoys storybook type apps and/or pandas.