Bobo Explores Light is a wonderful, content-rich interactive book for iPad that will educate and entertain children and adults of all ages as they learn about various light-related topics, such as the sun, lightning, or photosynthesis.

This app contains such a plethora of information that I honestly find writing this review a little daunting as there is so much worth covering.

This app starts by introducing itself with a thoughtful, extremely well-done tutorial introducing the reader’s very own robot, Bobo, and explaining how this app works – an important feature as this app has numerous topics to share as well as many added features that one can explore as well. A great table of contents is also offered here, stylized with a great use of working gears, and each page is represented by a frame of a film strip, adding to the style as well as content of this app.

With over 100 pages and 21 topics of interest, a well-crafted tutorial is imperative to fully explain all that an app such as this has to offer to insure that readers get the most from this experience, and this tutorial dos the job well, explaining about the various pull-downs one will find on many of these pages – excellent resources that may include videos and other important extras.

Bobo is as adorable as a robot can be, stylized with the body of an old incandescent bulb and a wind-up key in his back, magnet hands, and the continuous tracks reminiscent of a tank. He is friendly and loyal like a puppy as well, following your finger as you tap side to side. Details such as Bobo humming to himself songs such as “Lollipop” make me smile, and I
love the fact that on some of these pages, one can tap Bobo’s antenna to turn on Bobo’s hologram projector. These holograms are the best that I have seen, not specifically in their three-dimensionness, although to some degree offered here, but as they contain the flicker and glow that I would expect from a projected hologram that I especially appreciate. Do move the iPad around to see other angles of these images as well.

Although very thorough in the educational aspect, this app does not shy away from the details and whimsy that are added to keep this app fun and engaging, which is very important for an app with such a large amount of content to keep kids interested until the end. I love how one enters Bobo’s spaceship, and although a completely different shape, the stylized colors used here in green, red, and orange are reminiscent of “Marvin the Martian”- a palette that makes me smile.

Once the reader launches this ship into space, there is a lovely moment of space travel as one speeds to the sun, including the view of the planets – a very nice touch. I love the nuances of a noisy, turbulent journey as I am sure riding in such a ship is. Very soothing music is also included here, all combined to create a memorable experience.

After the ship has reached its destination, children will be introduced to the 21 subjects of this app, with the option of flipping through each page for a more simplistic over-view of each theme or tapping the pull-down tabs, typically found three per page on the top of the screen. These taps contain fun facts, amazing videos, and can go into great depth while keeping the
main pages more basic, great for the youngest children, making this app fit the needs of many ages. I truly appreciate how much science is really being taught here, such as the concept of shadows being places where photons can’t get to as they are unable to bend around objects like sound waves. The whimsy is not lost in this section either, as the main page is home to a very amusing caveman who dines on toasted marshmallows with Bobo, and don’t forget to tap on Bobo’s hologram projector as well for a fun surprise.

In reality there is not enough time or space to enumerate all the amazing details, both fun interactions to tap on and well as those with great educational value. There is a great moment spent with Thomas Edison, with an excellent use of Bobo’s holograms showing Edison’s various inventions as one listens to period music. A fun demonstration about the difference between a toy laser and the real thing, a terrific use of mirrors, and a fish bowl to demonstrate reflections and refraction, demonstrating the principles of geometry will be much appreciated by older children as well. A great laser light show is also included where one can move the sources from which these lights are bouncing, keeping this app very light and fun, as well as highly interactive, engaging, and highly educational.

I would also like to mention that the included video of the auroras are something I have never seen before quite like this, and the use music here truly creates a moving experience.

It is worth noting that although this app is rich with narrated video clips, sound effects and some lovely musical moments, the majority of the text with this app is not narrated – something that did take me by surprise as I expected to have the excellent narration from the tutorial be found within the body of this app as well. Because of this, this app will need to be read to children who cannot read for themselves. Good to know, but do understand that this app is a must-have science app for children of all ages in grade school, with much of the information being of interest to older student and parents as well. I see this app being a huge family favorite and a great app for older siblings to share with younger children as even high schoolers and beyond will learn a lot from this app – as will adults.

The one area of this app that I think kids may find confusing is how the RGB system of colors is touched upon, which may seem odd to children who have focused their attention on the primary colors of red, yellow and blue – not red, green and blue discussed within this app. I would love to see some mention of the differences of RGB vs. the primary colors as I am sure questions will be asked about this discrepancy.

It has been hard to write a review of this amazing app that is not simply a laundry list of favorite moments. I could not feel stronger about the educational value of this app, the quality that each page offers or the whimsy, humor and interactions that will keep kids involved until the end. With so much that this app has to offer, the replay value of this app is quite high and a must-purchase for anyone with school age children.

This app also tackles questions such as where rainbows come from or why the sky is blue in a way that is clear, thorough, and very understandable to satisfy the most curious of children in way that impressed me greatly. This app recreates the experience one may expect to find at a children’s museum of science and is well worth the money one may spend to purchase this app.

Nothing would make me happier than to see more of these apps be created by the developers at Game Collage, and do take a few minutes to read the credits included at the end, as everyone involved with this app has done a great job.

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