February 25, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

A “Creature Garden” | Touch and Go

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I’m a big fan of Tinybop, Inc.’s apps and often check in on their blog where I find interviews with their artists. British illustrator Natasha Durley created the art for Creature Garden. You’ll find out more about her here (some of her favorite books as a child may not come as a surprise), along with a few sketches that describe her process. Below, Debbie Whitbeck reviews the app.

Screen from Creature Garden (Tinybop, Inc.) illus. by Natasha Durley

Wondering where to find the next fantastic beasts? Using the engaging and intuitive Creature Garden (Tinybop, Inc. iOS, $2.99; PreS-Gr 2), the sixth in the “Digital Toys” series by the makers of Mammals, Space, Infinite Arcade, and other productions, children can now create their own. After viewers hatch an egg that appears on the screen upon opening the app, hooves, paws, claws, wings, fins, and other colorful options can be added to the critter that emerges. Once the creature is complete, kids can experiment with its diet, place it in a habitat, name it, shelf it, and repeat the process. They may also want to make their creatures race, or check their stats, take pictures of them, put several like species together, and/or add plants to the scene. Whatever they decide to do, this app is guaranteed to engross kids continually as every construction will be unique. The audio provides entertaining sounds (gears, nature, etc.), but with or without the sound effects on, it’s loads of fun.

This is an excellent app for maker or STEM activities and can lead to conversations about the hows and whys of animal classifications/characteristics. The app is available in multiple languages, and a trailer offers a sneak peek. VERDICT Enjoyable and educational and a great choice for home or school.—Debbie Whitbeck, formerly at West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland, MI

For additional reviews, visit School Library Journal‘s dedicated app webpage.



Daryl Grabarek About Daryl Grabarek

Daryl Grabarek dgrabarek@mediasourceinc.com 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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  1. Thanks for the complete review. Keep up the good work

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