Several Touch Press apps made our “Top 10 Apps of 2011” list. Omar Ramirez reviews their latest offering.
Title: X is for X-Ray: An A to Z Look Inside Everyday Objects
Text: Paul Rosenthal
Photographs by: Hugh Turvey
Published by: Touch Press LLP in association with The American Society of Radiologic Technologists and The British Institute of Radiology; and in partnership with Hugh Turvey, Mike Levad, and Paul Rosenthal
Platform: iOS, requires 4.2 or later
Gr 1-6-Curious children and tweens will get an entertaining glimpse into everyday objects in this app, which operates on multiple levels. Upon launching the title, viewers will see a bright white screen with the 26 letters of the alphabet, each accompanied by an object. Tapping on any of these items, including a gift box, an insect, a robotic dog, or a seashell, will trigger a sound effect and bring viewers to a large picture of the object and a full page of text offering some information about it. Swiping across the image will provide its x-ray view; some items such as the teddy bear have uncomplicated insides, others such as the motorcycle exhibit a fascinating network of parts. For a close-up look, children can zoom in on the object, and often, rotate it 360 degrees. Double tapping on a picture allows for a stereoscopic view in the “free-viewing mode” (instructions provided), or wearing 3-D glasses, which can be purchased from Touch Press via a link.
Younger children will want to choose the page icon on the bottom of the screen and move through the app in this mode, which displays letter and object alongside a quirky poem. Children can choose to read the poem on their own, or follow along with the expressive narrator. Zooming and x-ray views are also available on these pages.
Kids can travel from “a” to “z” in alphabetical order or skip around selecting letters from a scroll. Outside of the notes on stereoscopic viewing, there are no instructions in the app, which lends an element of discovery and surprise (take a look inside that magician’s hat) to the title and guarantees return visits.—Omar Ramirez, Chicago Public Library, Chicago, IL