Charlie and Lola: Back in Town | Touch and Go

Lauren Child's beloved characters and her distinctive line-and-collage art illustrations can be found in books— both picture and easy chapter—on television, and now on digital devices.
The beloved characters of Lauren Child and her distinctive line-and-collage art illustrations, can be found in books—both picture and easy chapter—on television, and now on digital devices. From Charlie and Lola: M Little Town

A scene created in Charlie and Lola: My Little Town (BBC Worldwide/Scary Beasties) Lauren Child

Lauren Child's Charlie and Lola have made the leap from books to television to tablet with great success. Based on a game from a television episode, the Charlie and Lola: My Little Town app (BBC Worldwide/Scary Beasties, iOS, $3.99; Android, $4.61; PreS-K) features six creative activities that lets players personalize environments of their creation, including dressing up characters, composing jazzy songs, building houses with blocks, and painting critters and landscapes, all of which unlock decorative stickers. A request to access the camera pops up when first opening the app, allowing players to use a photo for  the profiles, three of which are available, while external links and gameplay directions are locked behind a math problem in an adults-only section. In this user-friendly app, Charlie provides verbal instructions, while Lola adds commentary and encouragement. The main menu and next game are always available, making navigation easy. The cheery collage art and British English narration (check marks are "ticks" and players can “rub out with the rubber”) will be familiar to children who have watched the television show. Gameplay is simple and intuitive. The building blocks conform to physics, toppling if not balanced properly, and the birds each have their own musical phrase to arrange and rearrange to create new tunes. A variety of coloring tools are available for the artwork and decorative glitter can be added to the drawings. Towns can exist underwater, in space, in mountains, or in worlds of the players’ invention. While there is a finite number of stickers to be earned, everything can be edited and re-edited, making gameplay open-ended with no constraints other than imagination.–Shelley Harris, Oak Park Public Library, IL Lola

Lola from Charlie and Lola (BBC Worldwide/Scary Beasties) Lauren Child

Following on the heels of Charlie and Lola: My Little Town, BBC Worldwide and Scary Beasties have released a second app featuring Laura Child's irrepressible siblings of book and television fame. The latest app, subtitled I've Won! (iOS, $3.99, Android, $3.99; PreS-K), is a board game that can accommodate up to four players at a time. Player or players can choose to represent Charlie, Lola, or friends Lotta or Marvin, on the board. Three boards are available with the largest five by five squares. Lotta from Charlie and Lola: I've Won (

Lotta from Charlie and Lola (BBC Worldwide/Scary Beasties) Lauren Child

Players advance by rolling (tapping) a die that appears on the screen and moving the corresponding number of spaces. The square that the character lands on presents a challenge in the form of a game or activity that involves matching, spelling (simple three-letter sight words with clues provided), spotting differences, a maze (which requires tilting the device to move through the maze), and so on. Counting and fine-motor skills come into play throughout the game. Missteps or errors are returned with encouragement to try again, and cheers are sounded as stars fill the screen after correct answers are offered or activities completed. The first character to make it to the final square wins, and confetti and balloons rain down on him or her. Board challenges change and rearrange after a game is completed. Beloved characters, bright visuals, seamless functionality, musical accompaniment (with an on/off button) and the variety of challenges in this well-designed app will have children coming back for more.–Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal Eds. note: Charlie and Lola: My Little Town and Charlie and Lola: I've Won can also be purchased as an iTunes bundle.

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