Title: Pearl the Porcupine
Creators: Tracey Berglund and Steve Holloway
Themes: Friendship, differences
Platform: iPad and iPhone
Release Date: December 2012
Synopsis: Three different critters find themselves drawn to friendships beyond their own species. Pearl the porcupine and her friends Ralph, a timid turtle, and Cyril, a centipede, become besties and promise to stand by each other through thick and thin. This promise is tested when an ominous storm threatens their survival.
- Beautifully illustrated and animated
- Gentle interactivity where young children can direct the app at their own pace
- A lyrical narrated option
- Originally composed music
- Play Pearl Pachinko for Points
Why I like this app: The text and story are suitable for very young children, who will enjoy discovering more about centipedes, tortoises and porcupines as well as the individual idiosyncrasies of Pearl, Ralph and Cyril, each somewhat outsiders in their own communities. Friendship is at the heart of this story and their commitment to each other is endearing. The ending if full of colour, friendship and community. The humouros water colour illustrations are warm and quirky and support the text perfectly.
Pearl, Ralph and Cyril each have their own unique sounds, as do the: sun, trees, flowers, butterflies and birds. Calm background music plays throughout the self-read and read-to-me versions. The game, animation and audio additions are simple and suited to the very young. The animations are subtle and in no way detract from the story. The storm arrival and departure is dramatic, but the animation I liked most was using several fingers at once to animate a flock of birds and butterflies at the end – quite the flutter!
If you have never looked at book apps for children, this is a great free one with which to start. The Pearl the Porcupine app will also be available in Spanish in a couple of weeks time.