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Review: “Our Amazing World: Antarctica”

Wayne Lynch, author and photographer of Our Amazing World: Antarctica, has also produced two other apps with Matchbook Digital: Our Amazing World: Penguins and Our Amazing World: Owls. All three appeal to a broad range of readers and are filled with plentiful details about their subjects. That blue tinge we see when we look at an image of an iceberg?  It’s not our imagination. It really exists. “The more air that is trapped within the ice the whiter the ice appears.” Fresh snow is about 90 percent air, whereas “compressed glacial ice” is about 10 to 20 percent air. That “deep blue ice…is thousands of years old….” Wow.

Title: Our Amazing World: Antarctica
Author: Wayne Lynch
Photography: Wayne Lynch
Developer: Matchbook Digital LLC
Platform: iOS, requires 4.0 or later
Version: 1.0
Price: $2.99

Gr 4 Up-A gorgeously enticing title highlighting the wildlife and natural beauty of this mysterious continent. Viewers can choose to scroll horizontally through the gallery of exquisite photographs (all captioned) or stop to read a paragraph related to each image by scrolling vertically. A tap to a photo or text will elicit a row of thumbnail images along the bottom of the screen that act as a table of contents. The information provided includes historical and scientific facts about the geography of the land and the habitats and behaviors of penguins, seals, petrels, terns, and other native animals. While the text is somewhat limited, it will be of interest to readers and useful to young researchers.

From the majesty of a melting iceberg in Paradise Bay, Antarctic Peninsula to a close-up of the huge elephant seal, the masterful images will also inform viewers, and as such will be an enriching addition to science, geography, history, or animal units. The app may also spark conversations that will inspire students to delve deeper into the exploration and study of this fascinating place. Antarctica contains no narration, sound effects, or interactivity. In essence, it’s an electronic version of a coffee-table book, but a prized and illuminating one.— Amy Shepard, St. Anne’s Episcopal School, Middletown, DE