Over in the Jungle
‘Over in the Jungle’ App is an adaptation of the award winning book, of the same name by Marianne Berkes. This early learning app very quickly sets itself apart from the multitude of children’s apps that are out there. It has an interesting design that almost looks like an assortment of natural textiles colourfully illustrating the narrative. The visuals are vibrant and eye catching and have obviously been created with a lot of time and care.
The concept of the story is to walk the reader through a sequence of scenes, each around different animals found in the jungle. Each picture is accompanied by a rhyming passage about that animal. The narrative is catchy and simple, and the illustrations are really quite beautiful. When you touch an animal, it will move independently of the rest of the picture, a feature that will no doubt keep children tapping away and entertained for hours. There is the option to read the story yourself or have it sung or narrated to you.
When you reach the end of the story, there is a game in which you’re asked to find all 55 animals in one big jungle scene. This is a nice element to the app, and provides the interactivity that’s crucial to any good early learning app.
Apart from the central story, there are some nice features including ‘Animal Facts and Photos’, where each animal from the story has its own slide with some interesting facts accompanied by a photo of the animal in its natural habitat. This is where the app find its educational value and it’s actually pretty interesting for us old folks too!
There is also a section with some words by the author, illustrator, developer and publisher, all accompanied by narration and photos. This is quite a nice personal touch and I think it’s good for kids to get an understanding of the people and processes behind the app.
I really cannot find any faults with this app. The layout is simple and intuitive, the visuals are stunning and there is enough content to keep kids coming back for more. At £2.99, I would say it’s well worth the money.
From the Developer
Now this best-selling counting & sing-along book is an interactive app! Like its award-winning cousin, the Over in the Ocean app, Over in the Jungle is “jam-packed with vibrant colors, engaging interactivity, fluid poetry, predictable text and ‘teachable moments’.” Children count, poke and jiggle the rainforest animal babies to watch them squawk, scurry, and scramble—just as the animals do in real life. And then children will search for all the babies in a counting game. “Over in the Jungle” (book) has won numerous awards, including the International Reading Association’s “Teacher’s Choice Award.” This app is a fun way to reinforce learning, and is entirely safe for children--it does not contain ads, social media, in-app purchases, or links, nor does it collect data. It is available in English only.
• Remarkable artwork is constructed entirely from polymer clay! You will want to grab your own colored clay after illustrator Jeanette Canyon explains how she does it.
• Choose between “Read to Me,” “Read to Myself,” and “Sing to Me.”
• Children can touch the animal babies or jiggle the screen to watch them perform their distinctive true-to-life actions (for example, the howler monkeys hoot and the boa constrictors squeeze).
• After being introduced to all the animal babies (one marmoset, two morpho butterflies, and so on) the babies "play hide and seek!" The child is invited to play a counting game to find them all, “from ten to one.”
• Includes a real-life photograph of each animal with interesting information about the species.
• All information is scientifically accurate. The author also explains the wide variety of ways in which animal parents care for their young.
Additional app pages have information about coral reef animals in general as well as each species featured, including a photograph of each. The app enhances the entertaining, educational experience of the book, which has received many rave reviews, including the following.
• Library Media Connection: “Here is an attractive, engaging book on a very important habitat that children and educators will enjoy for either recreational reading or interactive learning in the library or classroom.”
•Mom’s Choice Award Magazine (Entro): “Over in the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhyme is wonderfully successful at rising to the challenge by combining music, counting and remarkable art to present some of the most compelling animals of the tropical rainforest.”
•School Library Journal: “This is a handsome book on an important subject, and it can serve as recreational reading as well as an introduction to a basic unit on the rain forest.”
•Ventura County Parent: “Readers will almost be as awestruck by the cadence and artwork in this book as they would be by the actual rainforest. It is a convergence of song, rhyme, numbers and incredible illustrations which will make it a favorite among a span of ages.”
•Children’s Literature: “an excellent teaching tool on many levels.”
•Catholic Library World: “The wealth of information and multiple uses for the book make it one that can be utilized over and over with a different emphasis each time. The illustrations make it very appealing, also. Whether studying counting, animals, rainforest, baby animals, art, nature, music or large motor skills, this book is a winner.”