If you know fans of Byron Barton—and things that go—be sure to take a look at his Planes, also available for iOS.
Pre-S-K-From fireboats and ferries to cruise ships and rowboats, vessels of every size and purpose are introduced in this beloved Barton classic (Crowell, 1986). On the tablet, the illustrations, which feature bold, flat colors and heavy black lines, contain animations and movable objects that will delight the app’s audience. For example, on one screen, children can move the forklift and the figures as the workers load the ship and are heard to say, “I’m almost finished” and “That’ll do it.” On another screen, passengers chat as they walk up a ramp to board the ship. Users can tap items and see the words “people,” “ramp,” “flags,” as they are voiced, and can push a beeping car across the dock.
The app is simple to navigate with large colorful arrows indicating page turns. The text—one line per screen, in bold white font against the blue sea—can be read or listed to. Both the sound effects and narration are clear. This universal app is optimized for retina displays on the iPad. Transportation aficionados will enjoy learning the names of the various vessels (and how they sometimes interact). A winner for the preschool crowd.—Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA