Sunday, January 6, 2013

Bats! Furry Fliers of the Night, by Mary Kay Carson - a fantastic nonfiction book app (ages 6 - 10)

Nonfiction book apps are shining stars in the 2012 Cybils book app finalists. In fact, if you look "Best of 2012" lists from Kirkus Reviews and School Library Journal, you'll find several interesting examples of book apps that share facts and information with young readers. The best of these integrate well written nonfiction text, vibrant full-color photographs and videos, interactive features that help students experiment and engage with the topics, and narration that makes the content accessible for a wide range of children.

Mary Kay Carson's Bats! Furry Fliers of the Night has wowed students at Emerson since it was released in January 2012. They love the way it pulls them into the nighttime scene, immersing readers in the world of the bats.
Bats: Furry Fliers in the Night
by Mary Kay Carson
developed by Bookerella and StoryWorldwide
2012 Cybils Book App Award finalist
ages 6-10
available on iTunes
Bats! is an original book app written by Mary Kay Carson, a prolific nonfiction author who also wrote The Bat Scientists as part of the Scientists in the Field series. She layers clear text with interesting diagrams, photographs, and interactive features. The diagram on the right highlights the body part as you tap the label. While this seems like a fairly simple step, it reinforces young children's understanding of clear nonfiction text features.

The design elements are top-notch, providing just the right amount of zing to keep kids engaged without distracting them at all from the essence of the material. Below you see the "Wheel of Bats" which readers spin to find out more information about different bats.

As Cathy Potter, of The Nonfiction Detectives, writes in her review for the Cybils,
With an effective blend of traditional nonfiction features and innovative interactive elements, Bats! offers young readers many opportunities to learn about these furry nocturnal fliers. Children will enjoy learning about the physical features, behaviors and habitats of bats through clear text, photographs, captions, diagrams and maps. Readers tap diagrams to make wings flap, tilt the iPad to steer a bat in flight, spin the "Wheel of Bats," and search for hidden bats in various habitats.

The vivid animation of bats flying in the night sky coupled with sound effects from nature (bat wings flapping, wind howling, water babbling, and bats screeching) give readers the sense they are watching live bats in the wild. Children will have a ball learning about science in this high quality nonfiction app.
This book trailer will give you a feel for the way Bats! brings young readers into the nighttime world of these flying mammals:

As fellow panelist Paula Willey writes on her blog PinkMe, Bats! is "a terrific nonfiction app, with beautiful sharp photos and animations that enhance understanding of the subject." I couldn't agree more.

Check out more 2012 Cybils finalists to find great books to read with your kids. The 2012 Cybils winners will be announced on February 14th!

Review ©2013 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books


  1. Wow! This sounds fantastic. I've yet to read (use? what verbs should I use here?) a book app, but this one sounds like a fantastic starting place!

  2. This is amazing! Thank you for sharing this one Mary Ann! This is a great book app not just for kids but for all ages. As a writer, I would also agree with Paula Willey, that this nonfiction app is amazing, with the beautiful sharp phots and animations will sure enhance understanding of the sugject! The kids will surely enjoy this!