Polar Bear Horizon – Smithsonian Oceanic Collection is an interactive application based on the book of the same name and now part of a series of Smithsonian applications developed by Oceanhouse Media.
Like other apps by Oceanhouse Media, this application includes the choice to listen to narration allowing readers to follow along the included text which becomes highlighted when words are spoken, or to read this book to oneself. Auto-play is also an option.
Do tap around the page to see objects or animal characters labeled by both text and narration when touched – as are single words or entire paragraphs with the tap of a finger, and the zooming and panning of these pages helps focus readers’ attention nicely and at times create moments of an almost animated quality.
There is a lot to really enjoy within this application including superb illustrations, soothing music, gentle sound effects of animals, water and wind as well as relaxing narration.
It is great how this app includes a vast amount of information about polar bears in a way that is still conversational and entertaining in a calm, thoughtful manner.
My son really absorbs science and nature details when he is exposed to stories such as this, which nicely merge nonfiction into storytelling, often relaying information he has learned from others and has really enjoyed this story as well.
I also appreciate a great deal the way the topic of the polar bears feeding off of seals is handled in a way that is very tactful yet accurate, allowing adults to fill in any details children may ask about this subject with information that their families feel is appropriate.
I remember when my son heard from a TV show that dolphins, a favorite animal of his, were “predators” – really heartbreaking for him to have this information explained in this way, until I told him that by this definition we too are “predators.” I am glad to say this this story doe not use such heavy language, glossing over the actual killings of the seals which are totally off screen and never truly explored, making this app very age-appropriate for preschoolers and up. It does, however, lack some of the details older children may feel are necessary to properly tell this story.
For me, it is lovely that this app also includes a moment of text and narration that explains how the baby polar bears are nursed by their polar bear mom, although not expressed directly within the illustrations.
I also love the choice to include the Northern Lights for a beautiful effect – a special moment within this book – as well as mild moments of drama and suspense when they come across other animals in the wild.
An additional section is included, “About the Polar Bear,” offering more interesting facts about these creatures, all of which may encourage children to learn more about these animals as well. For these reasons and more, I recommend that parents and teachers look into this application.
Polar Bear Horizon - Smithsonian Oceanic Collection
Developer: Oceanhouse Media
Released: 2012-02-22 00:00:00
Description from the DeveloperNEW FEATURES ADDED!!
★ Record your own voice
★ Share voice tracks with others that own this app
★ Page selector
★ Retina main menu
★ New options for sound effects, hot spots and alerts
★ And more!
It's early spring at the top of the world and snow stretches to the horizon and beyond. Polar Bear and her two cubs are growing hungry after spending the cold winter months in their den. When they emerge, Polar Bear checks for danger and waits for the cubs to acclimate to the ice. Learn about their long and dangerous journey to sea as this arctic adventure unfolds. How will Polar Bear find food and protect her hungry cubs?
Reviewed by the Smithsonian Institution for accuracy, Polar Bear Horizon is a fun and informative story with beautifully detailed illustrations. This omBook also includes a polar bear fact section for extended learning.
New features only available in this interactive omBook include professional narration, background audio and enlarged artwork for each scene. To promote reading in young children, individual words are highlighted as the story is read and words zoom up when pictures are touched. By combining the original text and artwork with features that educate, entertain and promote reading, this omBook appeals to readers of all ages.
Recommended Ages: 3 - 8
Three ways to read this omBook (Oceanhouse Media digital book):
★ "Read to Me" — listen to the narrated story with words highlighted as they are read
★ "Read it Myself" — read the book in its traditional form
★ "Auto Play" — plays like a movie, automatically reading and turning pages. Great for younger children!
★ Picture / Word association — words zoom up and are spoken when pictures are touched
★ Individual words highlight and are read aloud when tapped
★ Professional audio narration
★ Background music and sound effects
★ Pages pan & zoom to accentuate the beautiful, original artwork
★ This 'Universal App' is optimized for Retina displays and the iPad
Gift this app! - Click the "Buy App" arrow on the iTunes® App Store
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