Mini-U: Zoo Abracadabra for iPad is a charmingly different puzzle app that kids and their parents will both enjoy.

This app includes a circus theme where animals create towers holding each other up, creating wondrous shadow-animal shapes. Children are then asked to choose what animal is making up this grand tower from the animal tiles one can select, seen at the bottom of the screen.

There are three different levels of difficulty within this app that include an increase in the number both of the animal tiles to choose from as well as the number of the animals balancing together, creating most interesting shapes.

The easiest level allows one to tap on an animal shadow to have the corresponding animal highlighted, whereas the hardest level includes animals that are in positions varied from their images seen below, such as the different side of a bird’s profile or a squirrel with his arms up holding up another creature, creating a sense of implied movement as well as asking children not to just match the shapes they can see, but to use their cognitive skills to relate different animal positions to the images provided.

I really enjoy this simple and sweet app – something new for parents to get excited about as I have not seen other apps that use shadows in this way.

The circus theme is exciting, gently paced and relaxing, and I am a fan of there being no timer or score kept as children figure what creatures are working together to create these creative shapes.

To play, scroll through the bottom of the screen that includes the animals to choose from. When ready to identify the animals, one needs to tap on either the creature or the shadow first and then the correlating other half of this puzzle.

The animals used are colorful and stylized, grounded in reality with fantasy elements included as well. The shadow images could be crisper, but this is more of an adult concern that children will not take note of.

Also included is the ability to mute both the pleasant background music and the mild included sound effects without which would make this app disconcertingly quiet. I would like, however, to be able to silence the cheering after each puzzle is complete – sounds that deviate from this being a quiet and thoughtful puzzle application.

Children and adults will enjoy this delightful application that includes a nod to vintage that I especially appreciate.

Posted in: Animals, Art, By Age Range, By App Feature, Creativity, Just For Fun, Parents and Kids, Preschool, Primary School, Puzzle, Reviews, Shapes, Toddlers