March is National Reading Month and in celebration Auryn, Inc., the developers of Inspector Peckit, van Gogh and the Sunflowers, Bunny Fun, Edsel McFarlan’s New Car, and other award-winning titles, will be offering free apps all month long. Be sure to check their Facebook page each day to see what’s being offered.
Title: Inspector Peckit
Author: Don Freeman
Published by: Viking
Developed by: Auracle/Auryn Inc.
Platform: iOS, requires 4.3 or later
PreS-Gr 2-This picture book (Viking, 1972), by beloved children’s author Don Freeman, recounts the adventures of a curious Parisian pigeon who sets off to help find a small, white purse made out of yarn for a young girl who is missing it dearly. The intrepid detective searches high and low for the child’s bag, though it does take him a while to figure out what exactly it is that he is looking for. Higher-level vocabulary is scattered throughout the story along with a few French words. Music is heard on the home screen, but there are no other sound effects or animations.
The three menu options provided for most picture book apps are offered here: “Auto Play,” “Read to Me,” and “Read It Myself.” All modes present audible labels when images are tapped and page advancement by swiping. A menu button at the bottom of the screen opens onto small thumbnail pictures that allow readers to jump from page to page. The only way to pause or stop the story is to quit the app. Upon reopening it, readers can continue where they left off or return to the main menu.
What sets this title apart from others is the option to change, personalize, and narrate the text—without limit. Readers can easily switch back and forth between the original and the personalized narrations, or reset to the original text. Overall, a satisfying story with flexible narrations.—Andrea Hetzke, Franklin Elementary School, Park Ridge, IL