There is never a bad time to teach kids about respecting differences. If you are unsure how to begin, The Platypus' Search can help you out. Developed by MagisterApp, it's an interactive book app about diversity and prejudice, as well as the value of friendship and respect.
Let's Be Friends
The Platypus' Search tells the story of a platypus who attempts to befriend the animals in the forest, only to be refused because of his curious appearance. The platypus has a bill like a duck, webbed feet like a goose, and a broad tail like a beaver, but he isn't any of those animals. He begins to question his identity, until he meets a friendly deer who points out how his strange traits make him unique and beautiful. The story ends with the platypus feeling more confident about himself, and the other animals accepting (and even admiring!) him for what he is.
As an interactive tale, The Platypus' Search includes hotspots on every page that reveal surprises when tapped. On the opening page, for example, readers can tap the refrigerator in the platypus's burrow to reveal a freezing mouse inside. Each hotspot is marked with a star, so readers won't have any problems finding it.
In addition to the story, the app also includes three mini games that can be selected from the main screen. The first game is a hidden object game where readers try find objects in the wood with the help of a flashlight. The second is a musical game where they drag and drop animals on stage to sing or play musical instruments. Finally, the third game tasks the readers to place the animals in their respective beds so they can go to sleep.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Platypus' Search is an original tale written by Danilo Giovanelli. It's fully narrated in 11 languages, including Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Japanese. At the time of review, there isn't yet an option to turn off the narration so kids can read by themselves.
The app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Apple TV. It has no third-party ads and no in-app purchases, but it does show "More Apps" on the main screen. You can turn off this feature, as well as the background music for the story, from the protected Set Up menu.
Things I Like
The Platypus' Search is an intriguing story with excellent moral lessons about appreciating differences and overcoming prejudice. Like the platypus, who struggles to find his place among the forest animals, kids can sometimes find it difficult to relate to their peers. This well-meaning story shows them that it's okay to be different, and encourages them to treat others kindly regardless of how they look.
In addition to nurturing positive values, the app also provides kids with interesting facts about various animals. For example, they will learn that platypuses lay eggs even though they are mammals, and beavers build dams by gnawing away at tree trunks with their teeth.
Overall, The Platypus' Search is a nice app. However, the story could be updated to provide better reading experience. I noticed that sometimes the text and narration don't always match up, and the use of pronouns is not always consistent (sometimes the platypus is referred to as a she, other times a he). I would also like an option to turn off the narration for kids who want to read by themselves or for parents who want to read to their kids.
The Platypus' Search is worth a look if you're looking to teach your kids about diversity and respect. This original story is not only beautifully illustrated, but also told in a way that kids can easily understand. The mini games included in the app are a nice addition, and serve well as a post-reading reward.
App was provided for our honest review.