Timmy Tickle is a charming interactive storybook application, less of a narrative than a short collection of activities that one can participate in alongside a friendly orange octopus named Timmy. Both iPad as well as iPhone versions are available.
Children will be drawn into this app by the first page when they are asked by both narration and text to tickle Timmy to help him with a sad mood. Although animated illustrations have become commonplace within applications, there is something a little special in the way Timmy moves, showing off the underside of his suction-cupped body as he giggles and wiggles that I find endearing.
Other moments include helping Timmy stay upright on roller skates, cleaning dishes at a sink full of bubbles, or helping Timmy with number recognition by tapping numbered-shaped balloons in order. A subtle orb is used as a highlight to help children make the most of these interactions - a nice touch.
One of my favorite sections is when Timmy asks for help playing the xylophone. Four songs are included such as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “Three Blind Mice” with the use of prompts that show children what notes to tap. It is especially nice that children can also choose to tap these keys themselves to create their own music as well as to deviate from the song they are playing in order to add their personal touches as well.
I also really enjoy the fruit dress-up game with Timmy, as here Timmy will change his shape and color to reflect one of five fruits such as banana, strawberry, or grapes, asking children to select the fruit he is emulating.
A really cute costume dress-up game is also included where children play with Timmy, as here kids need to match up an image to the dress-up costume Timmy changes into, complete with endearing details such as Timmy putting into place or removing his fake fangs when wearing his vampire costume.
Timmy Tickle ends nicely with Timmy’s eyes getting noticeably heavy, and children are asked to turn off the lights with a tap - a lovely way to end this fun book.
The only notes I have for Timmy Tickle is that I wish the narration would not come to a halt if the reader prematurely begin interacting with the page’s hotspots. Currently, children can easily miss some of the narration if they do not wait until the voiceover is over in order to investigate the page.
I am also not a fan of the “raspberry” sound used to demonstrate when readers choose an incorrect answer during the fruit and costume games. I may be more sensitive to this sound in general - a sound my son uses that we have a zero-tolerance for based on its rudeness as a whole, so I may be overly disappointed with this sound choice, but I believe there are better sound clues for a missed answer than this.
Even with these notes, children will have a lot of fun with Timmy Tickle. It is nice to see an animal like an octopus, not thought of typically as cuddly, get this level of attention in a storybook. The act of tickling and interacting with him in general will be fun for all.