Monday, March 25, 2013

Illustrated Apps We Love: “Petting Zoo by Christoph Niemann” and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends Stickerbook”

Sometimes the life of a blogger is VERY easy: the products we come across are so good, the only problem is finding enough synonyms for the word wonderful. I’m happy to report that this is one of those times. So out comes the old thesaurus, because these apps are stupendous, remarkable, thought-provoking, delightful, and endless fun. And as if that isn’t enough, I’ve come across a top-notch iPad case that you should not do without.

Petting Zoo by Christoph Niemann by Abstract City Media allows you to control the actions of animated characters by dragging and tapping. You can tie the dachshund dog in a knot or coax him into a back flip. You can play an antelope’s antlers like a theramin. Or you can play a game of “whack-a-mole” with a cute meerkat who disappears then reappears from a trio of espresso cups. You can play an octopus like a harp as his tentacles interweave into magical patterns. This app is pure play and downright amazing. You may recognize Niemann’s work from his many New Yorker covers and children’s books, including one of my favorites, The Police Cloud. Niemann’s a rare bird indeed. His imagination is so surprizing, you (and your kids) will find themselves inspired. That’s a lot of value for $1.99.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends Stickerbook by Night & Day Studios features the illustrations of none other than Eric Carle. With a choice of five backgrounds, users create their own stories by dragging illustrations from a sample bar onto the background. Like many other stickerbook apps, this one allows you to easily pinch to make illustrations bigger or smaller as well as tilt the artwork. You can take a snapshot of the finished product and email it directly from the app. In short, the functionality is similar to most stickerbook apps out there, but this one just happens to feature the stunning artwork of Eric Carle—hungry caterpillar and all, as well as a generous assortment of insects, plants, and all the food featured in the book. Your child can recreate their favorite moments from the beloved tale or take the caterpillar on a new adventure. It’s familiar and brand new all at once. It’s empowering and at just $0.99, it’s a bargain to boot.

And speaking of synonyms for wonderful, I was lucky enough to be given an iPad cover/case by The Snugg that is a dream. Mine is baby blue (my pal said it reminded her of Tiffany blue) in leather, thoughtfully designed so that the screen is framed, not obscured; while all ports, speaker, and access points are easily accessible; and it stays closed with a magnetic cover. My favorite feature is the tab that creates a flip stand, perfect for a client presentation or when my daughter watches her favorite show. I never take this cover off. Honestly, don’t know what I did without it. At $34.99 for the leather case in color, it’s affordable luxury.

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