Reviewed by Alison
Gerry the Giraffe HDGerry the Giraffe HD is a delightful story about Gerry and his quest to improve his volleyball skills written by Melissa Northway of Polka Dots Publishing and published by PicPocket Books. This beautifully illustrated book is set in Africa where giraffes love to play volleyball. Gerry is left behind when his friends on the “Super Sonics” team go off to volleyball camp. Gerry is sad that he is not invited to volleyball camp because he is small and they believe he is unable to play. His mother gives the sage advice that he will grow up and perhaps he should try to improve his skills over the summer. Gerry thinks about it and decides that his Dad’s advice of “Keep trying – don’t give up” is an important mantra to follow. I also liked the narration in the book along with the word highlighting which are especially helpful to learning readers. The app includes questions at the end to discuss with your child as well as alignment to core learning standards written by Cyndie Sebourn and Sacsyn Publishing.
I loved the illustrations in this app especially the sparkling trees and all of the beautiful colors. I also liked that Gerry came up with his own plan on how to improve his volleyball game because it showed he was taking ownership for his actions and would be more likely to follow through on them. The narration of the book coupled with the animations and hidden sounds and actions made reading the book with my son fun because each time he has found something a little bit different to interact with. I also liked the illustrations were appropriate for young children with words and coloring similar to a child, which I believe will help them identify with the story. Throughout the story, Gerry has the support of his parents and friends which helps him know that his goal is achievable. After meeting his goal, Gerry “pays it forward” and helps other young giraffes learn the skills he worked so hard to perfect. The fun facts at the end of the story are also helpful to help kids learn more about Giraffes just like the fact that each one has their own unique pattern.
In terms of improvements for the app, it would be nice if some of the hidden sounds could be “highlighted” if a child was having trouble finding them on their own. I wish you could have the text re-read to you without having to flip back or forward a page.
This is a great story about teaching your children how to set goals and follow through with them. By having your child take accountability, they will be more likely to follow through and actually complete them like Gerry did in the story. This is also a great story for teaching children that we all have different abilities, but we can work on our strengths and try to make them even better. This app is geared at children from preschool through early elementary school. It could be a nice book for children who may be entering kindergarten and making transitions to help them understand that they can achieve almost any goal they wish to set by working hard, following through. Read our interview with Melissa Northway and also a review of one of her other apps, Penelope the Purple Pirate.