It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Apple products. I love many things that Apple produce, including their TV ads.
Recently, Apple released a series of 30-second iPad ads showing off a select few out of the 300,000 apps that are available on the App Store. These ads are categorized under one-word themes, such as "Alive", "Together", "Brilliant", and "Discover".
I am obsessed to identify every app featured in these ads, especially the ones that are designed for juniors. In the ad "Together", I immediately recognized Toca Hair Salon 2, but not the other app shown afterwards.
Now, the mystery is solved. After we were contacted by developers, I found out that the app is called The Lonely Beast ABC.
The Lonely Beast ABC
The Lonely Beast ABC is a flashcard alphabet app featuring the Beast, a black hairy creature with few facial features. Alongside his friends, the Lonely Beast introduces letters to letters and words to kids through colorful illustrations and fun interactions.
The Lonely Beast ABC app was developed based on a book by Chris Judge, entitled The Lonely Beast. The app features 26 new interactive hand-drawn illustrations featuring the characters from the Lonely Beast's world.
Each page in the app was individually drawn to highlight a letter and word associated with that letter — for example, B is for Boat. You can tap on both the letter and the name to hear them.
To navigate from one letter to the next, simply swipe to the left. Swiping to the right will take you to the previous letter. There is no way to jump to a particular letter or to go back to the home screen. Only when you reach the end of the alphabet, the app would prompt you to start reading from A again.
Parents Need to Know
The Lonely Beast ABC is suitable for juniors ages one to four. Since the app is not bound to a specific topic, there is a wide variety of new words to learn, such as shell and windmill.
If you enjoy making up stories with your junior, you can use each page to tell various stories. Hence, the app can also act as a creative storybook that chronicles the Beast's adventures.
Furthermore, each page is designed to have plenty of interactivity, and is drawn with a strong relationship to the Beast character. For example, during "F is for Fork", you can tap on the fork to change the food item stuck to it into a carrot, a slice of cake, or a sausage.
On the H page, you can make the Beast wear six kinds of hats. On the K page, you can kick five different types of balls. You can also change the Beast's look with four different types of ties on the T page.
Things I Like
The Lonely Beast ABC has a lot of good humor, which I honestly did not expect when I first tried it out. For example, on the "E is for Elephant" page, you will see an elephant and the Beast beside it, wearing a fake elephant trunk. When you tap on the real elephant's trunk, you will hear a loud, trumpeting sound. But when you tap on the Beast's fake trunk, you will hear a flatulence-like sound.
Most of the comical aspects in the app are simple enough for a four-year-old to easily understand, but I believe parents would also enjoy them. Some pages make great use of comedic juxtaposition to keep us guessing about what the app will show next.
For example, on the first page of the app, you will see the letter A with a big green apple next to it. The voiceover would then say, "A is for…" and then pauses.
At this point, you probably would guess that the upcoming word is Apple. But no — the app cleverly keeps the reader waiting for a bit before zooming in at a small ant on top of the apple. Apparently, A is for Ant. D'oh!
Obviously, I am not the only one enjoying the app. My three-year-old son Philip loves it too. In fact, his favorite pages are D and X, where you can interact with the fully playable drum and xylophone respectively. The app even has a nice effect where you can kick the drum's bass and the screen would shake. It really is a fun experience.
The Lonely Beast ABC is a fun app for kids to learn their ABCs. Even though the app is very simple, it is very excellent in its implementation. Its thoughtful design for both interactivity and humor is outstanding. A world-class quality, if I may say. No wonder Apple decided to feature the app in their ad.
Note: The Lonely Beast ABC is available as two separate apps for the iPad and the iPhone, so remember to download the appropriate version depending on your needs. My thanks to the awesome developers of Lonely Beast for sharing a promo code with us. Philip and I had a real blast playing with the app.