Boats - Byron Barton Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on May 24th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Boats - Byron Barton is the second in a series of apps that is based on printed books by Byron Barton that my son and I really enjoy.

Boats is a simple and sweet book that does a very nice job of teaching children about different boats - here with included sound effects and interactive elements.

As is the case for many of the book apps developed by Oceanhouse Media, Boats - Byron Barton does a great job of adapting the printed version into an application with the use of original illustrations and text.

Narration is included with sounds great, friendly and enthusiastic. Auto play is included, turning the pages of this book automatically, which is perfect for toddlers and babies. One can also read this book out loud as well, making this a lovely book to read to a child or a great first reader as well. It is always nice that within Oceanhouse Media books, the text is highlighted when read and readers are able to tap words or sentences.

I really enjoy the look of Boats as well as the other app in this series, Airplanes. The bright, colorful, and stylized images create a vintage feel that I really appreciate.

It is especially nice that the boats found within can be dragged around the screen, changing the direction the boats are facing as well for a very nice effect. When a boat is tapped to move, its particular sound can be momentarily heard, but I think it would be nice for an option to hear the sounds of these vehicles as long as the boats are dragged around the screen.

Boats - Byron Barton has quickly become a favorite app of my son’s, even before bedtime. For him, the best part of this app may be the ambient sound effects found among these pages, from the ocean waves, sea gulls and ferryboat horns to the sounds heard as a fireboat tries to extinguish a burning structure.

The app has a lot going on in terms of the audio - much to my son’s delight - as a fire alarm can be heard as well as the firemen barking orders at each other as a fire boat puts out a fire. There is also a nice moment with workers loading up a cruise ship with supplies that add a few trucks to the image as well that are also fun to tap and drag, and we enjoy a moment with people boarding the cruise ship as well as celebrating their bon voyage with confetti and streamers. The selection of boats is quite nice and educational, especially the small tug boat that pushes and pulls the larger cruise ship to the dock, creating a nice conversation starter about how this all works.

I believe that the added sound effects and voices heard get my son’s imagination going as he fills in the blanks of what must be going in within these scene, especially as he drifts off to bed.

I hope more of Byron Barton books will be adapted into apps as well as Oceanhouse Media always does a great job translating printed books into interactive storybooks.

iPhone Screenshots

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iPad Screenshots

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