Pancake Pandemonium (by Digital Leaf), is an iPad Books app filled with 24 pages of colorful and whimsical fun. The creative fun is captured through a nicely done rhyming story, caricature-type artwork, and 1 bonus matching game. Polly is the main character in Pancake Pandemonium and she loves pancakes, so when Polly discovers that she doesn’t have all the needed ingredients to make her favorite treat, this little girl stirs up quite a mess in her imaginative quest to gather the ingredients she needs to make a plate full of yummy pancakes. This is where the Pancake Pandemonium part comes into play featuring silly chaos, a mooing cow, clucking chickens, buzzing bees — and more.
To make the story all that more interesting, it’s told through a wonderful rhyme. Pancake Pandemonium is an iOS Universal app (the iPhone and iPad) and offers a choice of 2 professional-sounding (UK) female narrators: Mary Whiperwill/the adult or Emily Smipp/the child. But if you prefer, you always have the option to turn the narration off and read the book with your child or have your child read it to you. When the narration is on the words are spoken at a comfortable, leisurely pace and highlighted (green) as they are spoken. Nowadays, digital books always seem to have plenty of animations and interactive opportunities, and this book is no exception. There are animations and sounds on every page — and more on some pages than others. Some of my favorite interactive elements were the big, fluffy (meowing ) cat being sucked towards the vaccuum canister, the moving artwork hanging on the wall as Polly climbed the steps, the switching day and night scene, puffs of white flour coming from flour sacks, tooting smokestacks, and swarming bees.
On some pages, kids will be able to swipe across the pages to see more of a panoramic view of a certain page layout. While reading, listening and exploring pages, kids will want to look for all of the hidden frying pans (20) throughout the story to unlock the bonus game (a timed card matching game). Most are easy enough to find, but not all. If at anytime your child gets stumped, he or she can tap on the frying pan icon (upper right) to pull up a chart showing which pages the skillets haven’t been found on yet. I missed a hard-to-spot one on the garden page. I like how the developers provided the extra help chart, but it would be much better if you could tap on the pan image/page number to be automatically transported to that particular page to find the missing item, instead of having to go back and forth using the page turn arrows, which wouldn’t have been too big of a deal except that the turn pages (arrow icons) are slow moving and take a second to load each time.
Pancake Pandemonium has a lot of wonderful things going for it like its fabulous artwork, original storyline, rhyming fun, professional narration, nice animations and sounds, plenty of overall silliness to entice and keep young kids tuned in, but I felt a little disappointed but the slightly cumbersome and sluggish speed of the application’s page loading time and shortage of interactive opportunities. I think the developers could have totally “gone to town” and added a ton more interactive opportunities that would have really pushed this book into a “wow” category. While this Books app is well done overall, the $4.99 price tag is a bit steep compared to others, but you’ll have to be judge of that.
Pancake Pandemonium iPad App Download