Fox & Sheep, a developer of a number of apps for children, including Christoph Niemann’s CHOMP and Petting Zoo and Heidi Wittlinger’s Nighty Night Circus, has released a production that they state “encourage[s] tolerance, empathy and the eagerness to learn.” Debbie Whitbeck reviews it below.
Neighbors Lucy & Pogo (Fox and Sheep GmbH/Grit Schuster/Cats n’ Dogz, iOS $2.99; PreS-K) have a problem: Pogo is a dog and gets to go to school, while Lucy, a cat, does not. In addition, she is considered a “monster” by Pogo’s teacher and classmates. Nonetheless, Lucy decides to sneak into the school where users interact by assisting her with her canine disguise, and later, in a few classroom activities: counting, playing a tune, and completing a geography puzzle. In one activity, viewers adjust the angle of the flow of Pogo’s pee to ensure it lands directly on a plant, which then causes the plant to grow (algebra?). The climax of the story occurs on a field trip to chase cats: a black cat crosses the bus’s path and sends it flying off a bridge. Only a feline—Lucy—can climb a ladder to save the day. Lesson learned—the teacher now allows all animals into school, and users can interact with the critters playing in the schoolyard.
The app is based on Gérard Moncimble’s Le chat qui aboyait (Muchomor), translated by Tim Günther. In the digital version, the animation, panning and zooming, and activities are flawlessly executed. Pawee Pawlak’s art is both colorful and eye-catching on the screen and the original music by Fritz Von Flotow adds atmosphere. The speaker menu offers nine language options, indicated by country flags. American readers will notice the numerals 1 (with diagonal stroke) and 7 (with a cross through) in the connect-the-dot activity, but there are no European spellings in the minimal text. Children are bound to love the simple interactions that exercise their hand-eye coordination, and are likely find success in them. However, they may move through the story without completing the activities if they choose. The subliminal messages of persevering and accepting others are welcome themes. This app advertised as a “Parents’ Choice Gold Award Winner.” A trailer is available.—Debbie Whitbeck, formerly of West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland, MI
For additional app reviews visit School Library Journal’s dedicated app webpage.