The Magic of Maxwell and His Tail is an interactive story book app available on iOS and Android platforms. The book is also available in print form, and the app follows the original pages of the print book. The app itself is a very simple to use e-book, with intuitive navigation and clearly defined pages to read through. Children of all ages will have no trouble accessing the story and working through it, with each page consisting of the same features - a main illustration, the words of the story which can be pressed to hear them read out, arrows to turn the pages forward and back and a home button to return the user to the main menu.
The book itself is a simple story about a mouse and his tail. It is clearly designed to appeal to young children, and the story is rich with details to hold their interest. It is also beautifully illustrated, again in a very appealing and age appropriate way. On top of the classic pages that have come directly from the print book, the app includes some interactive elements. It is worth mentioning the narration and sound effects first - each page includes a very clear narration, although it should be noted for users in the UK that this is in an American accent throughout. The sound effects are also of a high quality and add to the interest throughout the story. Some elements within each page can be pressed to hear a sound effect or to see a simple interactive animation. Although the animations are in keeping with the style of the app, they are quite basic additions to the original story book and do not add hugely. This is not necessarily a criticism, since some similar story book apps are guilty of losing the story under too many layers of interactivity and complication.
Following all the pages of the story book, there are a few activities that children can complete. The first of these is a colouring page, with a choice of three brushes and eight colours with which to complete a picture of Maxwell the mouse. Once the child is happy with their colouring in, they can save the finished picture to the device’s picture storage, which is a nice extra feature. The next activity is a simple ordering exercise, where children have to sort out five pictures from within the story. This does not change in content from one go to the next, so replayability is limited here. Again with the next exercise, which is a matching exercise with five hats and their respective professions (artist, fireman, skateboarder, cowboy and chef) that Maxwell has thought about in the story. Finally, there is a maze activity, which is very limited in its interactivity. Users can draw a line on the screen to follow the path, or clear the line, but the line does not need to follow the maze boundaries, and there is no assessment here, so it is up to the child to use it correctly.
In all, this is a lovely story book app, but not heavily featured as far as the interaction and extra activities are concerned.