By Cindy Downes on Fri, 02/11/2011
The developers of Misty Island did a superb job of turning this Thomas & Friends story into an iPad app. Unlike other apps where developers have cut out pieces of the original artwork and then applied some very cheesy animations to them, this app was done right.
The illustrations are beautiful and true to the original story. The animations are unique, smooth, and very natural looking. No cut, paste and animate here. On every page, there’s something new to entertain the reader: eyes blinking, smoke puffing, and a helicopter flying across the screen. When the reader touches an object, he or she hears realistic sound effects such as a flock of geese honking, rocks crashing, or a foghorn blasting out a warning to the ships.
There’s even a touch of “scare factor” that will appeal to today’s kids. I won’t tell you what it is so you’ll be surprised!
When readers finishes the story, they can play a few other activities including a music video, coloring page, puzzle, and connect-the-numbers game.
The puzzle offers two levels: 6 and 12 pieces. Once readers solve the puzzle, they get to watch a video as a reward.
The coloring page was disappointing to me. The picture size is too small for the target age. Even for me, I found it extremely hard to “color in the lines.” Frustrating.
The connect-the-numbers game was ok, but I didn’t like the hints for the next number. (The number changes color.) I prefer giving the kids motivation to learn to count to 10. Maybe the developer could provide both options: one for learning; one for review.
My only other suggestion is to add an option of highlighting each word as it’s being read. I like this feature on other picture book apps and feel it helps kids learn sight words.
All in all, Misty Island is a very good app and lots of fun for kids. With a bit of tweaking, it could even be exceptional. This is a keeper!