Reviewed by Grace
Sneaky Sam by Sneaky Sam Productions is an instant winner with its playful characters, distinctive style of illustrations, upbeat music, fun bonus games and a cute little story about Sneaky Sam who likes to tease and play silly little tricks on his parents, friends and pets . He hides in the cupboard (this is a classic one), puts a fake spider in a friend’s lunch box, scares the pigeons and does the opposite of what his mum wants. But the truth is, Sam is just a nice little boy who wants everyone’s attention.
With 4 children, you can imagine how many pranks have been played on me! Sneaky Sam reminds me of the little acts of mischief that my kids did (and still do) to entertain themselves – many funny ones, some irritating ones and a few with permanent consequences. At times, I wish I had kept a journal of their cute and imaginative play that I can reminisce with them now. When I recently asked the older ones why they did some of the silly stuff, they couldn’t remember. So if you are having a hard time dealing with your child’s pranks, just remember that all these will come to pass as they mature.
Nonetheless, I wanted to seize the opportunity to educate my preschooler. I wanted him to be able to think of the consequences before acting. He surprised me when he asked why Cooper (Sam’s first best friend) was so angry in one of the scenes. He didn’t talk about what Sam did and I thought to myself – wow! I didn’t even have to highlight how Sam’s actions affected others. The opportunity to talk about what is nice to do and what actions can hurt others came so easily.
The story is simple and short (with only 10 pages), just right for a young child. It’s also good that there isn’t too many animations and interactive spots on every page to take over the story but when they don’t contribute to the plot, they can be distracting all the same. A good compromise is to allow these fun elements to activate only after the narration has finished. Like all good quality storybook apps, Sneaky Sam offers two reading options for the readers – Read to Me and Read by Myself, both with individual word highlighting. There are also 3 bonus games included – Stickers (you can share your child’s creation on the developer’s sticker gallery), Matching Pairs (a few games of 8 cards for matching) and Find Sam (his position changes so every game is different).
Illustrated by award-winning illustrator Binny Talib (the app has been shortlisted in the Qantm Design Awards 2012) and narrated by well known Australian actor Felix Williamson (of Me & My Monsters and Happy Feet fame), Sneaky Sam is a superbly produced storybook app. I was really amazed to find out that the illustrator used only 3 primary colors (red, blue and yellow) besides black and white to bring the story alive.
Overall, Sneaky Sam is an exceptionally well made storybook app that is both fun and amusing to the young readers. We may never understand why young children like Sam, finds pleasure in seemingly meaningless acts but I know for sure that they are all done in childhood innocence.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad.Requires iOS 5.0 or later.
Cost: $ 2.99 ( 108 MB)
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Grace was working in the fields of early childhood education and staff training before quitting to attend to her 4 children full time. She and her family live in Singapore, which is well known for her highly competitive education system.