Otter on His Own - Smithsonian Oceanic Collection is a charming coming-of-age universal storybook app about a sea otter from his first days after birth until he is able to venture out into the sea all on his own.
My son and I really enjoy the books in this series of Smithsonian apps, which brings this series of books by the same names to life, developed by Oceanhouse Media into applications. They include a narrator option with highlighted text and the ability to tap specific words or paragraphs to hear narration to better aid in reading, even when reading these apps to oneself - also an option.
As with other Oceanhouse Media apps, do tap on objects found within these pages to see and hear the corresponding labeling of these details.
The illustrations included in Otter on His Own are lovely to look at and have been greatly appreciated by my son, who has enjoyed the details that one can see of the otter as well as the other sea creatures within this book, as the images panning and zooming around the page draw readers closer to specific moments touched upon within the story.
We both enjoy the otter noises and other ocean sounds found within this app - nice effects that add a great deal of richness to this application, really bringing this story to life as we can hear the cries of the baby otter, so very dependent on his mother, his sounds making me think of my son as a newborn himself.
We also very much enjoy the moments when the otters are under water gathering up food in ways most interesting as well as scenes where the mother otter uses tools to remove fish from their hard shells, bringing many interesting facts to this narrative.
This app does a nice job of showing this otter as he grows and includes a moment of suspense when the otter mother comes face to face with a predator which my boy took notice of, but this moment of drama is short-lived and age-appropriate.
I admire the slow pacing of this book which makes for a relaxing read before bed, and although this may not be every child's taste, I think there is a need for apps like the ones found within this Smithsonian series to balance out the possibly overly stimulating apps which children also enjoy spending time with.
Equally enjoyable are the otter facts that are included at the end of this app which my son got a kick out of, asking me more about these topics and inspiring me to do research on my own for more information for my son to enjoy.
Otter on His Own will be enjoyed by animal lovers of all ages, and I look forward to reviewing more Smithsonian apps from Oceanhouse Media in the future.