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Review: ‘Skippyjon Jones’ an iPad exclusive

Functionality is key when using or viewing an app. How long does the app take to load? Do all the features (listening modes, email options, tabs, games) work as they should? This app, which was kid-tested by our reviewer, met with page-turn delays.

Title: Skippyjon Jones
Judith Byron Schachner
Published by:
Penguin Young Readers
Developed by:
Platform: iOS; requires 4.2 or later

PreS-Gr 2-Schachner’s bestselling picture book (Dutton, 2003) has been made into an app that will delight and frustrate children. Skippyjon Jones, a young Siamese cat, is sent to his room for a time-out. As he bounces on his bed, the small creature with big ears (also called Mr. Kitten Britches, Mr. Fuzzy Pants, and Mr. Cocopug by his mother) catches a glimpse of something flying past his bedroom mirror. He’s sure it’s a Chihuahua; in fact, it must be El Skippito Friskito, there to battle Bumblebeeto Bandito and save the day.

The author’s lively narration suits her spirited character. Animation, sound effects, and a few songs add just the right amount of noise and movement (buzzing bees, a creaking door, a piñata that bursts) to delight children without detracting from this kitten’s tale. Viewers can activate additional movements by tapping on screens (making a fountain flow and animals spin and dance).

While the story is engaging, young listeners will be frustrated by the time it takes to load a page—up to 10 seconds (the average time for an app page turn is about 2 seconds). While this may not seem like a significant time lag, it can be to impatient young listeners, who respond by tapping the screen repeatedly, causing the story to skip ahead (or back) several pages at a time.

Skippyjon Jones is a character known to many children, who will want to have his adventure in their library, but be forewarned: advancing the story in this version is an issue.-Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books