Lulu in Polynesia (by Zanzibook) is an iPhone and iPad Books app that makes it fun for young kids to learn about foreign lands. Your kids will have a great time in this educational app that takes them on a virtual trip around the world to the exotic French Polynesian Islands (Archipelgo). And as your guides, this exciting trip includes a spunky little girl named Lulu and her peculiar cat friend, Zazou. Prepare to be captivated by the colorful animated graphics, cheerful island-themed music, and assortment of game-type activities that will keep everyone (parents included) engaged as they learn about the people, customs and new vocabulary words common to that island.
Lulu in Polynesia has an entertaining and informative story format that can be enjoyed in either French or English. This iPad book has a very easy navigational layout (menu compass icon, map icon, flag icon) and clear verbal instructions that are presented right from the first page to help you quickly get the lay of the land and out on your reading adventure with Lulu and Zazou. Just tap on that map icon and you’ll be on your way to any island page of choice to learn about that specific island – and to see what entertaining adventures Lulu and Zazou have in store.
If you prefer a traditional storybook format, you can turn off sounds and read through the book with your child or have your child read to you, but that means that’ll you’ll only see the animations — not hear any them. It would be nice have the option to turn the narration part on and off but still hear all of the character lines, sounds and music. Moving from page to page is simple, just tap the right or left arrow to proceed forwards or backwards in the story.
I remember as a child loving books that took place in exotic destinations around the world, and I think most kids share this passion as well. The journey and game activities in this story start on the Marquesas Islands, where Lulu and Zazou are greeted by a young girl who gives Lulu a traditional island gift: a flower garland or lei.
From here, your kids will enjoy the task of creating a lei for Zazou by solving 1 of 3 flower puzzles to complete the necklace. There is also one other noteworthy feature to point out in this activity. The names of different flowers are spoken whenever tapped on, allowing kids to learn the names of flowers that grow in that part of the world.
Every few pages your child will encounter more game activities on the trip. That includes taking a swim in Hanavave village, visiting the Omoa village where the friends meet a native man and collect fruit to put in their basket to eat later, and sailing to the Touamotu Islands on their special itoito (type of sail boat).
While out on the water, Lulu and Zazou meet a variety of water characters (stingray, hammerhead shark, sea turtle). They also visit a pearl farm along their water journey for a basic education about pearls and play a fun slight-of-hand game involving a pearl. These friends also visit the Otokau reef island to catch crabs and play a mole mash game for a chance to win a ribbon. And the adventure just keeps going as they meet Manua (whose job is to take care of the coconut grove) and learn about coconuts – and more. In Tahiti, Lulu and Zazou arrive just in time for a traditional cultural festival that includes dancing, music and boat racing. Of all the wonderful animations in this book, the ones on this page were my favorite. They feature traditional costume and dance, and that silly dancing cat in a grass skirt.
Kids will help Lulu compete in the va’va (canoe-type) race. I didn’t win the race the first time, but the second time I won setting off a pretty display of fireworks. But, what journey is complete without learning something about the local cuisine? Kids will like helping Lulu and Zazou make a Tahitian salad with some rather interesting local ingredients — including raw fish. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end as they arrive in Bora Bora for a tropical drink and post card writing. Here’s where Kids can write (or draw a picture on) a virtual post card to send to family or friends through email.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed Lulu in Polynesia, at times Zazou sounded a little strange and not consistent throughout the story to me, so I couldn’t determine if his voice was just cute and quirky or just off-putting. In addition to this, some of the other characters’ lines/sayings struck me as slightly odd, but overall, this is a wonderful and educational iPad book (with a tad bit of bonus geography thrown in) that is sure to capture kids’ attention and imagination due to the spunky main characters, colorful and fun artwork, exposure to another language, cute animations, and just the right amount of information and fact given on each page for young kids to absorb without boring them. After reading through this iPad book, a Polynesian vacation sounds wonderful right now.
Lulu in Polynesia iPad App Download