Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Dina's Tea Time (storybook app) by Julia Dweck and Patricia Saco (KiteReaders)

We've previously taken a look at Julia Dweck and Patricia Saco's sublime dip into the art world with "Henny Hops into Art - The Hare with the Pearl Earring". Julia kindly offered to let us take another look at her storytelling app range with 'Dina's Tea Time', again illustrated by Patricia and again adding more to the storytelling app genre than just a story.

Charlotte loves dinosaurs so she was very excited to see a book with such cute dino characters that gave lots of factual details about dinosaurs but - and this is a rather neat twist - also offered up some utterly brilliant dino-based recipes AND also a subject quite dear to my own heart, lots of information about tea! How cool!

Dina the Dinosaur is hosting the perfect tea party, but something's not quite right. As her dinosaur friends turn up one by one, something still nags at Dina. What could be missing? It takes a certain T(ea) Rex to point out the missing ingredient vital to a dino tea party!

Once you've delved into the story, you can view facts about the dinosaurs featured in the story and also try out some brilliant recipes. Are you tempted to try Mastodon Bone Scones? Or even Pteranodon choc chip cookies? Then step into Julia's dino world and bake up a batch. It doesn't even end there as you can also see some great educational videos and we defy you to get a certain tune out of your head once you see a cute little puppet singing it.

With an entertaining teatime story of Dina and her friends you're just beginning to dip into what's on offer here, and for the price this app really does represent great value with plenty of content to keep little ones busy.

We've consistently trumpeted about how important it will become for storybook apps to go beyond just offering the same experience a book can, if they're to truly shine as a storytelling form in their own right. Dina's Tea Time shows what modern tablets are capable of in order to enhance a story, provide background information, underpin a story with great factual content and give children a reason to revisit them again and again.

One very minor point to note - sometimes the navigation for the app seemed to be a little hit and miss. Children have a fairly low tolerance for anything slightly fiddly so if buttons don't instantly work, or feature a large enough 'hit zone' they can prove a little frustrating.

What's that you say? It's four o'clock? Well as we're English, I'm sure you know exactly why we're drawing this review to a close. Everything stops for tea!

Charlotte's best bit: Without a shadow of a doubt, the puppet song (she won't stop singing it, help!)

Daddy's favourite bit: As with "Henny", a brilliant story underpinned by fascinating facts and some utterly scrummy sounding recipes and plenty of Dina extras at the end. A dino-tastic package indeed!

(Kindly supplied for review by Julia / KiteReaders)

"Dina's Tea Time" (on iTunes)

Also available on Amazon for Kindle devices