Angus and Max Blast Off! – a deep space adventure ($2.99) by Hamson Design Group Pty Ltd tells the story of a young boy and his dog as they venture into outer space in a homemade rocket ship. Together they take a tour of the solar system on their way to Pluto.
Either have the book read to you or read it on your own, and bookmark where you last read.
As opposed to most book apps, where you have to touch the side of the page to turn it, this one makes use of touching the blocks of text. This works for this app, given the many different touchable elements that are spread across the pages.
However, what doesn’t work for it is the fact that it also relies on touching the side of the page (some of the time). It seemed no matter how lightly I touched the screen, I inevitably either swiped backwards or forwards through the pages accidentally. I couldn’t help but think how well a child would handle this.
Most of the pages contain some form of “interactive” elements, though I use the word loosely. Touching an object and having it make a sound isn’t true interactivity.
Even the parts where you do have to select objects to bring to Angus falls short of entertainment. It’d be one thing if you had to figure out what Angus needed, but it’s completely lackluster when you’re told exactly what you need to do.
The writing style made me cringe a little. Not only do I think some of the words used are too big for the intended audience, but the narration also half-heartedly rhymes.
It’s one thing if you want to rhyme in your book (which isn’t an easy task if you do it correctly), but it’s a demonstration of poor writing when only some of the pages rhyme some of the time.
At the core of this story is learning about the solar system, which I think is the one thing this app has going for it. Children can be exposed to different stellar objects, including planets and moons.
Children who enjoy reading about outer space as much as Angus will gravitate toward this app. However, the lack of consistent touch control and the awkward prose may be a deterrent.