The artwork is by Mariecat graphics and has an old-fashioned charm to it, Toby is the kind of big eyed kitten that you can just imagine gracing the front of a chocolate box in years gone by. The story starts off when Toby and his family go for a walk in the forest, Toby is off exploring by himself when he finds a caterpillar caught in a spiderweb. Toby is unsure what this creature is, but when the caterpillar asks for help Toby rescues him. Toby names the caterpillar Plumpy and they become best of friends. They play together every day until one day Plumpy doesn’t look well, and goes for a long sleep. Of course Plumpy is starting the metamorphosis to a butterfly, but Toby doesn’t understand and thinks his friend has died.
Toby buries Plumpy in flower petals but then is astonished when Plumpy disappears. Plumpy is now a beautiful butterfly, and comes back to thank Toby for all his kindness then tells him he must now leave to pollinate the flowers. The story is illustrated with bright colorful pictures with lots of beautiful flowers and trees, it has light animations, sound effects and interactive elements that fit well with the story. The story has optional narration which is professionally done and has word highlighting as it is read, the background music and sound effects can be switched off independently. One of our favorite interaction occurs on the page where Toby thinks his friend has died, the picture starts out in black and white and the child has to gather colorful flower petals to cover Plumpy, as they do so color is very gradually returned to the scene and the picture ends up in full color.
This is a very sweet story about friendship and loss, and at the same time teaches children a little about the lifecycle of the butterfly. My five year old daughter really enjoyed this story, and liked all the interactive elements. The app also contains some fun extras, there are eight puzzles – all are cat pictures, some from the app and others are pictures of different cats. Each can be done as a 9, 16 or 25 piece puzzle. The app also times how long it takes to complete the puzzle. There are also 3 cat pictures to color and a blank drawing page. You can color them freehand, or use the rainbow marker which reveals the colors used in the original picture. There are a a selection of pen sizes but it would be nice to have one available with a finer tip, as the drawings are very detailed. There is also a a fun option called Delcomanie where you can color or draw on one side of the paper and then press a button and it appears on the opposite side too. There are also postcards you can email or send via social media. All of thse additional activities are fun and add extra value to the app. However, they all have social media integration – which I would like to see removed, or an option to switch them off added to the settings. In general the English in the app is very good, but there are a couple of phrases that don’t sound like they were written by a native English speaker.
Overall, this is a really sweet story with bright colorful illustrations with lots of details of flowers and animals. It is a well done app, which will appeal to young animal lovers from preschool through mid-elementary school age. The extras are fun too, especially the delcomanie and the puzzles.
Toby and His Dear Friend HD - Premium Interactive Storybookby WiseKids
Category: Books, Education
Requirements: Compatible with iPadThirdGen4G, iPadThirdGen, iPad 3G, iPadFourthGen, iPadMini4G, iPad 2 3G, iPadFourthGen4G, iPad 2 WiFI, iPad WiFi, iPadMini
Size: 210.76 MB
Screenshots for iPad(Click to enlarge)
NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.
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