Dragons! App

Review by Miranda West, Children's Editor, The Literary Platform

iPad app
Features: Defiant poses, vivid colours and beautifully detailed illustrations
Production credits: Amber Books
Launch date: 9th August 2011

Dragons! is probably the least-like-a-book app that we’ve reviewed. With a strictly non-linear format, limited text, no cover, contents page or menu for guidance, it’s a case of jumping straight into the belly of the beast – armed only with an lcd screen for protection.

And these beasts are something else. At first glance you might think them pretty. Defiant poses, vivid colours and beautifully detailed illustrations. But once you’ve put the randomly scattered dragon images or ‘tiles’ into a grid (you don’t have to do that, I did because I like things neat), it just takes one click on your preferred playmate and an ‘up close and personal’ image will soon have your child running open-armed to the CBeebies website.

So now the app really gets going. Each legendary dragon has an eye-catching illustration, a ‘play sound’ button so you can hear its roar at high volume (my 6-year-old can’t get enough of this and thinks the roars are authentic recordings), and background text on its origins. You can find out the actual size of the dragon compared to ‘man’, swot up on geeky facts, and print off and colour images from a gallery.

The app could benefit from an introduction to help users navigate their way around initially, but overall, this is a fun, interactive app that will appeal to all fans of dragon myths and legends.

Amber Books have been creating or ‘packaging’ illustrated non-fiction books for adults and children’s publishers for over twenty years. They have been producing iOS apps on a variety of subject since 2009. You can follow them on Twitter: @AmberBooks.

£1.99
Dragons! app