Since ancient times, men have looked up to the skies and marveled at its vastness. We now know more about the Solar System, but scientists are still pushing the limits of space exploration every day.
For your budding astronomer, I have an exciting learning resource for them -- it’s called Space: A Brightpips Guide. Unlike most titles we review, it’s a straight-up ebook and not an app. However, it offers more than static content; spread throughout the book are interactive widgets, interesting videos, high-resolution image galleries, and even a game. The developer describes it as an interactive space museum squeezed into your iPad, which sounds about right to me.
Outer Space for Kids
At the beginning of the book, you can review the “how-to-use” section, which explains how to navigate the book and its interactive elements. On an iPad or iPhone, you use the standard gestures: swipe left or right to move between pages, tap an interactive widget or gallery to open it, tap most objects to learn about them, pinch to bring up the table of contents. On a Mac, you use mouse clicks instead of taps.
Compared to “real” textbooks, Space: A Brightpips Guide is fairly short at 37 pages (excluding the credits section). But, you’d be surprised at how much content it packs. It covers the whole Solar System, stars, the universe, space travel, and a lot more. Every page contains detailed, easy-to-understand text, plus an interactive widget, image gallery, or video.
For example, on the page about the Solar System, you can find a widget that lets you compare the sizes of the planets. You can swipe left and right to see each planet, and tap on to read fun facts, such as how far a planet is from the Sun and how long it takes to drive right around it.
The book also manages to include a mini game, in which you can try your hands at guiding the Lunar Lander down on the Moon. It’s a game with simple mechanics, yet it adds to the overall appeal.
All in all, the book contains over 20 interactive widgets, galleries, and videos, as well as over 100 informative pop-ups. It also features photorealistic images that perfectly illustrate the provided information.
Parents Need to Know
Space: A Brightpips Guide is designed for ages 8+. It doesn’t include audio narration, so you might want to accompany your child if he or she isn’t yet confident with reading books with lots of text.
The book is available on iBooks for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. You don’t need to be connected to the Internet to read the book. It does contains links to third-party websites, which I find to be credible resources, such as NASA and Flickr.
Things I Like
I admit that physical textbooks can be boring, but on the other hand full-fledged apps can be shallow and distracting. This ebook is the best of both worlds. It’s fun, interactive, but more importantly, educational. You can learn a lot from this book without feeling tired, which can be attributed to the writer’s knack for explaining complex topics in an easy-to-understand way. Of course, the interactive widgets also help a lot.
I find that this book is truly like a portable science museum. Some of the widgets are exemplary, such as the one where you can drag the clock to find out how Mercury’s temperature changes throughout the day. I also can’t help but be amazed at the chapter about living in space, particularly after watching the real-life video of an astronaut washing her hair in space. It’s one of those things that you don’t learn about every day, and I’m glad the app has made it accessible.
Space: A Brightpips Guide offers detailed, clear text with interactive widgets, stunning galleries, and interesting videos to create a unique and engaging learning experience. It’s enjoyable by kids and adults alike, and provides valuable insight to outer space that you might not find in real-life textbooks or other apps. Highly recommended for ages 8+.
Get it on iBooks: iPad/iPhone/Mac
Ebook was provided for our honest review.