Reviewed by Mary
Wiggens goes to the zoo can be enjoyed at two different levels. For younger children, or those with a shorter attention span, I would recommend first reading whilst ignoring the red questions marks. This way it is a cute interactive story about a Labrador pup visiting the zoo with his grandfather, who is a zookeeper. For an older child, or one who would like to learn more about zoo animals, touching the red question marks, which appear in each section, will pull up additional pages. These pages include photographs and facts about the animals, maps showing their native habitat, information on their status (endangered or not) and videos. The developer worked with the San Diego Zoo to produce this educational material and the videos were filmed there. These additional information pages are not narrated.
The story starts in the zoo kitchen where Wags is preparing food for the animals. The child can bring Wags an assortment of fruit and vegetables and watch him chop them up. Then they can help Wiggens get on his work boots, ready to help in the zoo. Wiggens and Wags go into the zoo where the first animals they visit are the Giant Pandas. If the child plays a tune on the piano (by following the highlighted keys) the Pandas will play their flutes in response. The child can then feed the Pandas choosing which of five food choices is the right food for pandas. If they pick the wrong food the panda will blow a raspberry, if they pick the right one he will eat it and they earn a sticker. Wags and Wiggens then visit the other animals in the zoo- lions, giraffes, meerkats, rhino, elephant and cheetah. With each one the child gets to help Wiggens feed them (choosing from five different choices each time). There are other interactive activities too- such as brushing the rhino and roaring loudly to wake up the lions.
There is also a Macaw who flies around the zoo with Wags and Wiggens, if you touch him he will tell you more information about Macaws (in text form only). The app is lightly animated and you can see all kinds of dogs in the background enjoying their day out at the zoo. On both the home page and the last page there are social media and app store links, you do need to press twice to follow these links, but I would like to see them removed to a parent section or have the option to disable them in the app settings.
I really enjoyed this app, as did my five year old daughter. It is a cute story, that is sure to appeal to all animal loving children. The addition of the interactive elements really brings the app to life. Because all the interactions are triggered by touching icons on the text bars, they occur at a natural spot in the story and the child isn’t tempted to randomly touch the illustrations hoping to trigger something. The extra information pages are a great way to expand the learning opportunities in the app, and my daughter really enjoyed the videos. Having these pages also expands the age range of the app, the developer recommends this for age 4-8 years, and I think this is accurate. It is nice that the zoo animals in the app are based on real life animals in the San Diego Zoo and having videos of those animals helps to bridge the gap between the fictional story and real life. I would like to see an option to have the extra material narrated, and I have spoken to the developer who plans to include this in a future update.
Overall, this is a cute interactive story that does a good job of engaging the reader, and the information pages and videos add an extra educational dimension to the app. It is a fun way to learn more about zoo animals, and an excellent opportunity to talk to children about conservation. Highly recommended.
Wiggens Makes Friends At The San Diego Zooby Skyreader Media Inc.
Category: Books, Education
Requirements: Compatible with iPad 2 3G, iPad WiFi, iPadMini4G, iPadFourthGen, iPadThirdGen, iPad 2 WiFI, iPadFourthGen4G, iPad 3G, iPadMini, iPadThirdGen4G
Size: 320.21 MB
Screenshots for iPad(Click to enlarge)
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