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Review: ‘Woolly Mammoth in Trouble’ for iOS

The app landscape is populated with creatures that have lost their way: first it was a Triceratops, then last week a young Edmontosaurus wandered during “The March of the Dinosaurs,” and now it’s a woolly mammoth that finds himself in a pickle.

Title: Woolly Mammoth in Trouble
Author: Dawn Bentley
Illustrator: Karen Carr
Narrated by: Al Gates
Developed by:
Oceanhouse Media, Inc. and Smithsonian Institution 
iOS, requires 3.0 or later
Version: 1.08 
$ 2.99

PreS-Gr 2-Finding himself alone in the midst of a blizzard, a woolly mammoth hides in a cave until the storm passes. While in search of his herd, he falls into danger when saber-toothed tigers approach him. But the mammoth, a much larger and stronger animal, is able to fend off the ferocious cats and soon after is reunited with his group.

Throughout this fictional story (Soundprints, 2004) information about this herbivore’s size, eating habits, and senses are related, and four pages of additional facts can be found at the end of the story. Unfortunately, there is no way to directly advance to this information. In a similar manner, readers aren’t able to go back to a previous page; the only option is to return to the beginning of the story.

Three reading modes are provided. “Auto Play” turns pages automatically while a narrator reads the highlighted words. “Read To Me” requires readers to advance the pages. “Read It Myself” is a silent version, but audible text is available when the print words are tapped. All versions also provide audible descriptive labels when the images are touched (hare, tusk, tree, mountains, elk, etc.).

Animation is limited to falling snow and pages that rely on panning and zooming for the main action. Sound effects such as footsteps, a howling wind, snarling saber-toothed tigers, and snatches of music complement the story in just the right places. Ads for other Oceanhouse Media titles are present, but can be turned off via the “News” button in the main menu.

Beginning readers and fans of extinct creatures will enjoy the this simple but informative story.—Andrea Hetzke, Franklin Elementary School, Park Ridge, IL