Woolly Mammoth in Trouble: Who Knew a Mammoth Could Teach Reading?
Woolly Mammoth in Trouble Review: With all the quality you would expect of an app produced with the backing of the Smithsonian Institution, Woolly Mammoth in Trouble is both exceptionally beautiful and exceptionally well designed for it’s purpose.
Woolly Mammoth in Trouble is a lovely picture book about a woolly mammoth that gets separated from his herd. This app is rated 4+, but it is highly suited for those learning to read English, whatever their age.
The gorgeously painted scenes are often presented using a Ken Burns effect, which presents just enough motion to make this more than just a page turner. For interactivity, you can tap almost anywhere on the screen and a word will pop up telling you what you tapped on (e.g., tree, sky, snow). And of course there are the usual page turn swipes.
There are three ways to enjoy this book: Read It Myself, Read To Me, or Auto Play. Auto Play has a narrator reading the words, which are highlighted as they are spoken, and the pages advance automatically. You can still tap the screen for the pop-up words interaction, but the story continues to progress. In the Read To Me mode, the narrator reads the pages one at a time, again with the words being spoken highlighted. This time if you touch the text, the narrator will repeat the reading. You can control when the pages advance and you can go backwards too. Read It Myself mode is just what it says, there is no narrator. However, tapping on the text will bring up the narrator if the reader is stuck. And all the previously mentioned interactivity continues to be available.
Woolly Mammoth in Trouble is equally beautiful on the iPhone and iPad. The introductory music, narration, and sound effects are museum-like and high quality. It’s a lovely soft style often seen in children’s’ picture books.
A physical picture book of this quality would cost you at least three times as much and be without the narration and interactivity. If you’ve got someone learning to read, or someone who likes woolly mammoths, this is a fabulous app to have. And it’s one of a string of books in the Smithsonian’s Prehistoric Pals series that have recently been released once a month to the app store. Definitely worth considering purchasing all of them for your own “museum collection.”
What we like:
- Beautiful graphics and transitions
- Interaction promotes literacy
- Options to read yourself or have it read to you
- Simple enough to maintain focus
What to know:
- Page swipe wasn’t always immediately responsive