March 17, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Wuwu & Co. | Touch and Go

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Here’s an review that’s been in our queue for a few weeks. The app, which comes to us by way of Norway and Denmark, recently made the list of  Cybils 2015 app finalists.  Andrea Lipinski of New York Public Library reviews it below.


IMG_0920At first glance, Merete Pryds Helle’s Wuwu &Co. (Step In Books, iOS, $5.99; Gr 2-5) appears to be one of those apps in which a soothing narrator reads a story.  But when readers are first told to “pick up the book,” a new level of interactivity is revealed. Lifting the iPad transforms the app into a virtual camera, and viewers can turn in all directions to see the story’s surroundings.

The plot is simple: it is the coldest winter in 2000 years, and five peculiar creatures need help. Each character awaits interaction (sometimes patiently, sometimes not), and each one’s story reveals a fairly straightforward task that needs to be completed, although it might take some children several tries to understand how it can be accomplished. The app is highly interactive, and readers won’t be able to finish their assignments by sitting quietly in a chair. Expect that they’ll be shouting at their device, shaking it, and standing up and turning around to see what these actions bring to the screen.

Although engaging, the app can also be a bit confusing. At one point viewers are requested to find something in yellow with the camera, but if there is nothing yellow in their vicinity the screen will turn that color anyway.  At another juncture, shaking a tree happens by shaking the tablet or phone, which might take children several attempts before managing to get the device to respond.

Interior screen from WuWu & Co (Step In Books)

Interior screen from Wuwu & Co. (Step In Books)

The hand-drawn artwork, which features splashes of color against gray and white backgrounds, is simple but appealing. Musical notes, and appropriate sound effects (howling wind and barking dogs, etc.) add to the atmosphere. Listeners can toggle between English, French, Spanish and German language options. The app’s music, sound effects, narration, colorful pictures, and activities make it a truly immersive experience and one that children will enjoy.—
Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library

Eds. note: A trailer is available.

For additional app reviews, visit SLJ‘s dedicated app webpage.

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Daryl Grabarek About Daryl Grabarek

Daryl Grabarek is the editor of School Library Journal's monthly enewsletter, Curriculum Connections, and its online column Touch and Go. Before coming to SLJ, she held librarian positions in private, school, public, and college libraries. Her dream is to manage a collection on a remote island in the South Pacific.

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