Scholastic First Discovery Dinosaurs is a universal educational app that teaches about dinosaur facts in ways fun and interactive.
After really enjoying the other Scholastic First Discovery app, The Forest, as well as being a fan of the traditionally published book about dinosaurs on which this app is based, I was eager to review this new application as well.
I was honestly a little surprised how the content of this app varies so greatly from the book my son and I know and love - a simple non-fiction picture book including transparent, illustrated pages has been transformed into a heartier, if not as cohesive an experience, although the style of dinosaur illustrations remains true to the published book. Having said this, I appreciate all that there is to learn about dinosaurs as well as discovering all the educationally-driven interactivity.
Narration is included and, unlike other applications, reading the full text is not offered as this is less of a book and more of an interactive app - worth noting as this may not be suitable for use as an early reader, but this is in no way a flaw as this application, with its numerous facts spoken will teach not only about prehistoric times but will aid in strengthening listening comprehension as well.
This app can be enjoyed two ways - either by turning the pages of this app the way one traditionally would or choosing chapters to explore via the included menu.
Topics such as different sizes of dinosaurs are touched upon here, as a tap will enlarge the creature to show the scale next to a child and adult, as well as the narration to fully explain the size difference. I also appreciate how sometimes these dinosaurs are so large that only a piece of them can be seen, and one needs to pinch the screen to re-size the image to see the dinosaur fully as well as the humans, who are now smaller in comparison.
The differences of carnivores and herbivores are elaborated on as narration offers facts that allow children to categorize these creatures into either the hunter or non meat-eating category.
I also like that a few different possible reasons why the dinosaurs became extinct are included, be it from a series of volcanic eruptions, a meteorite hitting the earth or the inability of the dinosaurs to be able to adapt to changes in climates.
Fossils are explored, and I did find the completing of a dinosaur skeleton with other bones in a museum setting to be unintuitive, as the added 3-D effect complicated this activity. This page, taken from the book would be been better served in a more low-tech approach of completing a simple puzzle.
I do, however, really enjoy looking through the dirt in search of fossils that come alive with a tap as well as dragging a finger over skeletons to see who these bones belonged to in a way that is quite detailed and a lot of fun.
I also like exploring the globe, learning about animals who have been in some way related to dinosaurs, such as the Marine Iguana from the Galapagos Islands or the Cassowary from New Guinea, but I found that the globe one interacts with a touch too sensitive, moving to quickly to the point of distraction.
Although I enjoy these chapters very much, I do think this app lacks a proper introduction about dinosaurs and opens up onto a page allowing one to tap on eggs to hatch into these creatures - a page that one is unable to return to as it is not part of an included chapter. Likewise, the first section available is a single page discussing sea life which are not dinosaurs and therefore does not fit in well with the other content. This chapter would have been well-suited to being left out during the editing process.
Having said this, I do enjoy this app as will other fans of paleontology - young and old alike. Those familiar with the book will recognize certain elements as they explore this version created with interactivity in mind.
Although there are a few issues I would like to see smoothed out, there is a plethora of content as well as nicely detailed dinosaurs including ones that may be less common to some, making this an app that I can recommend.