Picture book review: Mother Nature Rhymes (for iOS) by D.B. Johnson
Preschooler Monkey and I don’t read a lot of books on the iPad. The problem is, she is more interested in the games and watching videos than reading the books. However, when I received a free copy of this iBook directly from the author, I was interested to try something different.
This is a book of funny nature-themed rhymes accompanied by gentle interactive video. The interactive part is designed to only start after a few seconds, giving you the opportunity to read the rhymes out loud to your child before he/she is distracted by the video. At first I wondered why there was no voice-over to read the text, but then as we read, I realized that was actually a good thing because my daughter usually just ignores those voice-overs and plays with the book as if it’s a game. Whereas when I read the book out loud to her, she sat and listened quietly, the way she does when we read at bedtime.
The rhymes themselves are whimsical and fun to read. I absolutely loved listening to the sweet, gentle nature sounds and watching the silly animal characters act out the descriptions in the rhymes. While there were a few word choices that didn’t quite work for me, the rhymes on the whole felt clever and simple (in a good way).
All that being said, however, we only read this book together once (or rather twice in one sitting with the last two poems being read 2-3 times). Not because my daughter and I didn’t like it, on the contrary, I thought it was one of the more well-done book apps I’ve seen. However, I just don’t like to do a lot of reading with my child using the iPad.
Also, as a side note, the iBook App was very difficult for us to use because Infant Monkey was interested to see too and kept banging on the screen with her little hands, causing it to zoom in and out weirdly or flip pages before we were done, which interrupted the reading experience.
Of course none of that has anything to do with the book itself, so if you are a parent who is going on a long trip and wants some iBooks to occupy your little one, this one is a good option. Especially if your child is a slightly more sophisticated user who knows not to bang randomly on the screen (so, you know, like at least age 2.5 or 3).