Planes - Bryon Barton Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on May 3rd, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Planes - Bryon Barton is a new interactive storybook developed by Oceanhouse Media and will be of special interest to parents of young children.

Planes is a delightfully simple storybook introducing different kinds of airplanes with a lovely sense of style. Few words per page make this a lovely first book for babies to listen to, later being able to use this book as an early reader as well.

With the first glimpse of this app, Barton’s books seem utterly familiar from my own childhood, even if in reality I was a teen when this book was first published. As an adult I love the vintage quality captured within this app which parents will enjoy possibly more than children will - vaguely reminding me of puffy rainbows and Mrs. Grossman’s stickers - both popular in the 1980’s with the same bright use of color.

I really like the excellent proportions used within these drawings that show relative size of objects found in the cityscape and other areas of this book, as well as a nice perspective seen as the jet plane filled with passengers fills the screen, allowing children to see the people seated inside.

Many planes are explored here, including a crop duster, sea plane, helicopter and a plane in the process of sky writing. It is also nice that a few pages toward the end are focused on the goings-on at an airport - moments my son especially enjoys. Sound effects are also incorporated for a very nice effect.

I am very pleased with how this book translates to an application, as the included narration is spoken with enthusiasm, each page from this book nicely filling the screen as the previously implied actions of the various planes now really come to life as they fly across these pages in ways slow and most delightful but never in a distracting fashion.

Children will enjoy moving these planes with the drag of a finger as well as tapping other objects found to have their names demonstrated with text and narration - always a nice touch.

Easy to read to oneself, this is a great book to read out loud with a nice function of tapping words to hear them spoken even if not using narrator mode, especially nice in aiding new readers who may need a little help, as is the text highlighting when the narration is spoken.

The only thing I would love to see added is the airplane sounds when children drag the planes around the screen with their fingers.

I really enjoy the atmospheric sounds of airplanes, helicopter over a city, cargo plane loading trucks and even the sounds of distant birds or crowd noises from people leaving a jet or workers cleaning and checking planes. These sounds are wonderfully layered with almost as much to listen to as there is to see. I could see, however, some families wishing they could lower or mute these sound effects if their babies find them too loud or stimulating, especially at quiet time. Because of this, it would be nice to control the sound effects volume of this app without effecting the included narration as well allowing my son to listen to this voiceover without the other loud noises when we are out and about.

Planes - Bryon Parton will make a lovely first app for babies, but I will expect toddlers and preschoolers to enjoy this book as well, as my son is four and asks for this application by name. I enjoy spending time with this application as well. The colors and wonderful, the drawings are interesting to look at as they are relatively simplistic, making them uncomplicated for the youngest of children, yet these pages are rich with details and a very nice amount of action taking place as well. For these reasons and more, I find it very easy to recommend Planes - Bryon Parton.

iPhone Screenshots

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iPad Screenshots

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