Jeremy Fisher: Buddy Edition is a very good universal app which brings the classic story The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher to devices with especially nice narration. The iPad application also contains coloring pages as well as a connect-the-dots activity. Both versions contain “Buddy Reading” which enables an adult to read the story from a remote place in real time to a listening child who is at another location.
Jeremy Fisher: Buddy Edition is a very good adaption of the beloved story by Beatrix Potter, who also wrote the Tale of Peter Rabbit as well as other stories about other cute animals with human personalities. Here, this story is about a frog named Jeremy Fisher, who goes on an adventure as he tries to catch enough fish to have a dinner party for his friends. The illustrations are those found in the original book and look lovely on the iPhone but are especially grand on the large screen of the iPad.
As this is a book originally published in 1906, parents should be prepared to answer questions kids may have about some words not commonly used today, specifically “larder” (a cold pantry of sorts that pre-dates refrigeration) and “macintosh” (a rubberized waterproof raincoat) adding to the educational value of this app.
New to the story is the interactivity included where one can tap on the screen to see and hear the names of some of the objects being tapped. The reader is shown where to tap, which is good for very young children, but the flash of glowing blue dots may also be distracting to some, and children many want to search these interactions instead of being shown where they are. I like the addition of these words, but I did not like that if tapped, the speaking of these words can sometimes overlap the narration of the story, not an ideal situation. I would prefer to only read the narrated words as text on the screen when the story is being told. There are a few interactions where one can move a dragonfly or a slug around the screen, which I really enjoyed and I do wish more of these moving interactions can be added in the future.
The iPad version of the app also contains both coloring pages as well as a connect-the-dots activity. In the coloring pages, one can choose a color and then fill in sections of the drawing, using a finger like a crayon. There is a “zoom” option that is included to allow an easier time coloring in details, but I wish one could control this function with the movement of fingers, as I have not had a lot of success zooming in to the places that I choose. A novel feature of this coloring book is the “rainbow” crayon. Do use it over a large area of the page and see what happens, something that I think kids will really enjoy, as do I. The saving and emailing of these completed pages are also available, something kids may have fun with.
The connect-the-dots is exactly what it seems, as one uses a finger to drag from number to number, creating a part of the illustration that is missing. At first, the page is black and white, but when the dots are fully connected, the player is rewarded with their picture being transformed into full color, a nice effect.
I like that both the coloring book as well as the connect-the-dots games include a nice selection of pages to choose from.
I have not had a chance to try out the “Buddy Reading” as this would test best with two adults using their devices in separate locations. This function allows an adult to read this story to a child while they travel or if they live apart. I have, however, read the instructions and I am happy to say that they look well-written and easy to follow.
A “record” option for this book would be a nice addition as well, possibly to be used as a backup if the away parent can’t connect to “Buddy Reading” for some reason, like if one experiences internet problems. I have enjoyed this application, as the quality of the narration, the use of the original illustrations and an interesting coloring option makes this a lovely storybook and a good choice for any child who may enjoy a nice, classic story.
Jeremy Fisher: Buddy Edition
Developer: Sideways Software LLC
Released: 2011-02-17 00:00:00
Description from the Developer** Apple's New and Noteworthy **
"I have enjoyed this application, as the quality of the narration, the use of the original illustrations and an interesting coloring option makes this a lovely storybook and a good choice for any child who may enjoy a nice, classic story."
- Amy Solomon, GiggleApps
Sideways brings the wonderful story of Jeremy Fisher to life through illustrations, narration, games and Buddy Reading (Patent Pending) technology. The Buddy Reading feature allows parents to read the story to their children even when they can’t be together. A simple connection using Game Center technology allows the adult’s voice to be heard through an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch as the child listens or reads along on a second device.
Beatrix Potter’s amusing story and beautiful illustrations of Jeremy Fisher, Sir Isaac Newton the Newt, and Mr. Alderman Ptolemy Tortoise are reproduced faithfully on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, but new features make the book come to life.
Parents and children can read the book aloud or listen to a narrator. Touch an object and the word appears on screen and is read aloud. The image zooms in for a better view of the characters. Certain items can be moved around with a fingertip.
The iPad version adds a coloring book to the mix, allowing children to color illustrations from the book. Children pick from among 14 crayons and “draw” right on the screen. Young readers can save their work and email it to a friend or grandparent – or erase and start over.
A new connect-the-dots feature lets users outline drawings to reveal the original illustration.
Lastly, parents who want to give their children more of Beatrix Potter’s most beloved characters can purchase toys, prints and more directly from their iPad.
Sideways’ adaptation of “The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher” preserves the beauty and simplicity of the original while adding features to heighten the experience for parents and children alike.