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Review: ‘Triceratops Gets Lost’ for iOS

A stomp, a roar, a glint of blade-like teeth, and a tidy resolution: what more could dinosaur lovers ask for? Folding a smattering of facts into a brief fictional story (with just enough prehistoric action), Oceanhouse Media’s “Smithsonian’s Prehistoric Pals” series is likely to please the youngest enthusiasts. Triceratops Gets Lost follows It’s Tyrannosaurus Rex in the series. Read a review of the earlier release here.

Title: Triceratops Gets Lost
: Dawn Bently
Illustrated by
: Karen Carr
Narrated by
:  Al Gates
Series: Smithsonian’s Prehistoric Pals
Developed by
: Oceanhouse Media Inc. / Smithsonian Institution
: iOS, requires 3.0 or later
Version:  1.08

PreS-Gr 1-A young triceratops wanders and becomes lost. Away from his herd, the creature eats ferns with “his perfectly designed teeth,”  “plods through the muddy banks of a stream,” and observes and encounters other inhabitants of his lush forest habitat. While most of these encounters are peaceful, one turns dangerous. Not to worry though, the herd turns up just in time to save the young animal from the hungry Tyrannosaurus rex.

This fictional story (Palm Publishing, 2003) offers detailed illustrations that can be enjoyed in three modes. In “Auto Play,” text words are highlighted as a male narrator reads. Listeners will hear the same narrator in the “Read To Me” option but must swipe the screen to advance the story. “Read It Myself” is completely reader directed.

In all three modes the ambiance is enhanced with the addition of background forest sounds–chirping, chattering, squawks, and roars. Tapping on a picture brings up a few labels; some are general such as “trees,” while others are a bit more specific such as “gingko trees.” Movement is limited to panning and zooming, which offers some close-up views of the creatures. Following the story are four screens of information that provide dino facts.

Young dinosaur enthusiasts who enjoy stories will appreciate this simply told tale with its added sound effects. Those who are beginning to read will benefit from some of the additional features, including the narration’s highlighted text. Children who prefer informational books may want to follow this with some of the nonfiction apps available on dinosaurs.—Nancy Sterns, Berlin Intermediate School, Berlin, MD.