Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Strange and Wonderful World of Ants: iPad nonfiction eBook app (ages 7 - 12)

If you have a child who's fascinated by insects and nature, check out the eBook app The Strange and Wonderful World of Ants, available for iPads through the iTunes app store. It will intrigue kids who are naturally curious about insects, and particularly notable for the way it allows users to adjust the reading level to the detail and vocabulary level that best suits them.

The Strange and Wonderful World of Ants
by Amos Latteier
with illustrations by Melinda Matson
available through the iTunes app store for iPad
ages 7 - 12
Beginning with a basic introduction to different types of ants, this eBook provides an interesting introduction to a variety of different topics. It explores how ants milk aphids and farm fungi, how ants store food and communicate with each other. Using the different reading levels, readers can explore more detailed information about a topic by switching from the beginning level to an intermediate or advance level. The advance level introduces concepts such as pheromones, symbiotic relationships, bivouac protective balls, and sharing food and communicating through trophallaxis.

While the adjustable reading levels are a unique and fascinating feature, this app lacks a narrator read-aloud option. It would benefit from more built-in features such as narration, and clickable word definitions. The illustrations are visually appealing, but do not add enough concrete knowledge about the subject. They would benefit from a more scientific perspective, with labels and clear indication of which species are being shown. These are aspects of good illustrations you would expect from a solid non-fiction book for children, and eBooks should provide the same level of clarity with their illustrations.

I am very excited to think about the learning potential of providing different reading levels for the same text. This is an inventive, unique app that will appeal to children with an interest in insects. However, I do think it would benefit from some features you would find in more traditional nonfiction books for children, and from some of the feature of more interactive eBooks.

National Geographic Readers: AntsI downloaded this app on a free trial day, as promoted by Moms with Apps. The developer, Amos Latteier is a member of this collaborative group of family-friendly developers seeking to promote quality apps for kids and families.

For other books about ants, you might be interested in National Geographic Readers: Ants, by Melissa Stewart, for beginning readers, or  Killer Ants, by Nicholas Nirgiotis for intermediate readers. Advanced readers would be interested in Science Warriors: The Battle Against Invasive Species, a Scientist in the Field book by Sneed B. Collard III.

For other reviews, check out I Education Apps Review; and Digital Storytime. Both provide in-depth reviews of The Strange and Wonderful World of Ants.

For more nonfiction reviews, head over to Nonfiction Monday - hosted today by Three Turtles and Their Pet Librarian.

If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion will go to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you). Thank you for your support!

Review ©2011 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books.

1 comment:

  1. I love that you reviewed an iPad app for reading. Nifty!