With a number of hardcovers and board books tracking her adventures, it’s clear that Ladybug Girl has a fan base. Despite a few issues working this app, I’m fairly certain children will want to read other Jacky Davis and David Soman titles after viewing this production. Until they get to the library, there’s always The Ladybug Girl is Definitely Not LITTLE Game.
Title: Ladybug Girl
Author: David Soman and Jacky Davis
Illustrator: David Soman
Published by: Dial Books for Young Readers
Developed by: Trilogy Touch
Platforms: iOS,requires 4.3.3 or later
PreS-Gr 2-While some story apps wow viewers with bells and whistles, this one stays true to the simplicity of Davis and Soman’s “Ladybug Girl” titles, while reflecting the stories’ themes of play and imagination.
The app opens to Ladybug Girl’s (Dial, 2008) cover and offers both “Read to Me” and “Read by Myself” options. In theory, children may listen or read, but occasionally the narration remains on with “Read by Myself.” It’s a pleasant and enthusiastic narration (with the text highlighted in red as it is voiced), but the only way to switch it off in this mode is to choose “Scene Select” and press 1, relaunching the story with text only. Unfortunately, it may take viewers a while to figure this out.
Once in, children follow Lulu and her dog, Bingo, on a walk after the girl’s brother refuses to let her join his baseball game (“bugs don’t play baseball”) and her busy mother asks her to “figure out [her] own fun time.” Images fade in and out and pan as a small ladybug crawls across the screen and the girl and her basset hound meander through the yard to background sounds of the dog’s snuffling, singing sparrows, and a ball game in progress.
Throughout the story viewers will discover interactive opportunities: doors that open, a tail that wags, and a plant that sprouts. A tap on the question mark icon alerts readers to additional features on each screen.
“Lulu’s Lots and Lots of Costumes” is an added feature that allows children to dress Lulu in a variety of outfits, select from several hairstyles (or headgear), and choose different background scenes. They can email completed masterpieces (in color or black and white), though not all attempts to use this feature worked.
Fans of “Ladybug Girl” are sure to enjoy seeing one of their favorite characters on the screen and will appreciate this app’s delightful narration, animation, and soft sound effects, but operating issues remain that need to be addressed.—Karinn Figdore, William Penn Charter School, Philadelphia, PA