Picky Kid Rating: 2.5
Nora’s Crabby Day is a book app about… well, you’ve probably figured it out by the title! We bought this app because we’ve been discussing bad moods and other emotions with B lately. We were disappointed for a number of reasons: The story is better suited for older children (B is 2), Nora doesn’t try to solve her problem on her own, and there are flaws in design and user experience.
To her (and the authors’) credit, Nora doesn’t act out, misbehave or hurt anything as a result of her crabby day. Essentially, she just copes, and tries to escape by hiding in bed when she gets home from school. The crabby day is finally over [spoiler alert] when Nora’s family comforts her and she finds out that there’s macaroni and cheese for dinner. (If only it were really that easy in real life!)
The app works as you’d expect from a book — you swipe left to turn the pages forward, right to turn them back. There are two options accessible from a small icon in the lower right: You may toggle the narration (background music will still play in “off” mode), and word highlighting. When both options are on, the narration synchs up quite nicely with the highlighted words. When audio is off and word highlight is on, it can be disconcerting to read the story aloud since it’s hard to exactly match the word highlighting.
I find it difficult to read this book aloud. It’s written in rhyme, and some verses are difficult to deliver with the right rhythm. Visually staggering the lines of text might make it easier to read. Luckily, the narration is quite good (available in American English only).
The scenes on each page are animated, but it’s not at all like a cartoon. The animations are simple and choppy and usually start after the narration, so it feels more like reading a book than watching a video. To see an animation again, you must swipe the page back, then forward again, restarting the narration. Many elements in the illustrations will make noises when tapped. But unlike many other book apps, tapping on text does not replay narration.
This app lacks polish and attention to detail. The interactive experience from page to page is inconsistent — on some pages I’ve been able to restart the narration accidentally, and some pages must be “turned” to read the next verse, even though the scene doesn’t change. Design could be improved — for example, the options screen is presented sideways (vertically, when the app is horizontal) and is not designed at all. Text is difficult to read on some pages, especially over striped backgrounds. And some animations cut off parts of the text.
School-aged children may identify with Nora’s crabby day — how everything seems to be working against her and how she feels alone — but our toddler prefers simpler emotional themes, and the pickiest kid (me) wants a better user experience.Review: Nora's Crabby Day iPad app,
Nora's Crabby Day
Played on: iPad 2, iOS4
- PicPocket Books