I’m delighted to have Helen from CApptivated Kids guest post here at Child-Led Chaos today, reviewing the Hugless Douglas iPhone/iPad app. Helen’s blog is full of reviews of apps for small children, and gives me the only positive reason for having an iPad I can think of! A huge thank-you hug to Helen for the review.
“One spring morning, a big yaaawwwwn came from the back of a deep dark cave.
… I need a hug,” said Douglas.”
And off he goes in search of the perfect hug in this interactive version of the picture book Hugless Douglas by David Melling. My children (aged nearly 5 and not-quite 3) already enjoy the Douglas books, and so we were really pleased to find him in the App Store.
One by one, Douglas carefully considers all the things that make his best hugs so good; they are big, tall, and comfy… but individually, nothing he finds is quite right. Then a rabbit points him in the direction of someone who can combine all these things into one wonderfully huggable package – his mum.
There are some lovely touches which show off the humour and warmth of Douglas’ world. For example, the very charismatic sheep that he scoops up in his arms (surely a shoo-in for Best Supporting Actors) are even more fun when a soundtrack of “baaas” is added. Douglas blowing his nose on the rabbit’s tail got extra giggles from my children, as did his attempt to climb a tree.
It’s nice to see Alan Davies narrate the story. His narration is warm and inviting, while the music by Simon Wallace is reminiscent of a lovely old-fashioned children’s TV series.
There are two extras included – a noughts and crosses game and a hug gallery. The gallery is a very nice feature, as you can email different hug illustrations to your friends and family. I’m sure grandparents would love receiving a Good Night Hug, Cosy Hug or Tummy Hug.
While we really enjoyed using this app, there are some things which we would love to see in any future updates. It would be good if the “Read to Me” option were not just a video of the book, but allowed for the page turns and interactivity currently only available in “Read by Myself”. Secondly, although keywords appear when you touch the illustrations (e.g. Douglas, bed, scarf), this is not consistently applied across the pages. And while the interactive elements definitely add something special to the story, I would have loved to see the app exploit the full possibilities of the iPad a bit more.
Overall, this app is a good value, straight forward version of the picture book, which delivers a warm and cosy hug for Douglas fans.
Hugless Douglas by David Melling, developed by Hachette, compatible with iPhone and iPad. Available from http://itunes.apple.com/gb/