“To be, or not to be: that is the question” for a piece of chewing gum named Green. ChewingGum Adventures: Green in the Garden (by Happy Ink Publishing) is the first book in a series of books for kids 3-8 years olds featuring humorous and quirky stories revolving around the interesting adventures of Gum. This particular iPad book is FREE and features Green, who is not sure he likes being gum. Green feels bored and discontent with his life as an ordinary piece of chewing gum and it’s not until he seeks a bug’s life outside of the gum box that his scary adventure leads him to discover a new sense of self worth — especially when it’s his own unique ability that makes him the hero who saves the day.
Chewing-Gum Adventures: Green in the Garden has a strange but interesting storyline, matter-of-fact professional narration, and kid-appealing graphics, animations, interactions and sounds. This iPad book can be enjoyed in 2 reading modes: Read to Me and Read it Myself, and both modes have sounds present in the interactive opportunities. The navigation is very simple but leaves you to guess what to do next (although it only takes a few seconds to figure out). You’ll swipe pages to move forward or backwards in the story, but the swiping mechanism is a bit touchy. Initially, I wanted to poke and touch all over the place to see what was interactive (about 1 per page), but while doing so the pages would slip forwards or backwards (a little like skating on ice). So, to avoid this, just look for the blinking transparent bubbles on each page and this will indicate where the interactive opportunities are. There are lots of funny interactions, but one of my favorites is when Green swings around on a branch and smacks right onto the iPad screen and slowly slips down off the screen. I definitely think kids will find all this silliness entertaining.
In the approximate 16 pages of this iPad book, Green meets 3 green bugs who are quite content to do what they do best and to happily toot their own ego-centric horns about their own wonderful appearances and physical abilities. The grasshopper is pleased with his hind femurs and facial mandibles; the Japanese Beetles with his ability to quickly skeletonize over 200 different species of plant leaves (I love the literal interpretation of the skeleton heads seen on this page); and the Hickory Horned Catepillar who seems to be in love with his own “dazzling” caterpillar body. Unfortunately for them, someone else finds them interesting too — and before long, Green finds himself trapped with his new bug acquaintances. But, it’s Green’s smart thinking that comes to the rescue with an amazing plan that uses all of their unique abilities combined to escape their jam jar prison.
I enjoyed reading this imaginative and different storybook — and my teenagers thought it was pretty cool also. I was slightly disappointed, however, by the limited tilt interactions, especially since it was mentioned in the app’s description. I only came across one (slide the bugs around the jar) page. Also, the developer has the book listed as a story for 3-8 year olds, but honestly I don’t think younger kids are going to fully grasp the story’s message, although they will have fun with the simple interactive opportunities, especially if they like gum and bugs. Regardless, Chewing-Gum Adventures: Green in the Garden is a really fun idea for a book to help kids learn to be happy with who they are. Most likely, this iPad book will truly be enjoyed by elementary school age children. What kid doesn’t love gum? And a quirky book about gum? And what parent doesn’t love a good FREE book? Check out all of our iPad app reviews. Mrs. Crazy Mike
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