There are many children’s storybooks being published for the iPhone and iPad, and Dylan Monkey & Squishy Face is a cute and clever addition. It’s an innovate story about Dylan Monkey wanting to give his brother Squishy Face some additional hands. This way, Squishy Face would be able to hold his bottle and do other things, like crawl around, at the same time.
You and your child can enjoy the book in several ways: Reading the book yourself, listening to the narrator read while interacting with the pages, and autoplay. With the first mode, you read the story and all the sounds, interactions and animations remain. With the second, the narrator reads and your child listens while interacting with the pages. With the third, autoplay, your child listens to the story without interactivity; this mode is good for quiet time.
The story, itself, is fun to read. Dylan tries many ways, some of them very unusual, to make extra hands for his brother. It encourages children to be imaginative, explore new ideas and think up new approaches. At the end of the story, Dylan realizes that he could help his brother by using his own hands—a nice way of talking about sharing and helping others.
You and your child can discuss the storyline in a variety of ways. Why are some of Dylan’s ideas not working? What’s it like to have a plan? How did Dylan feel about his brother; what in the story shows this? What are ideas? I also like that Dylan’s mother Frazzle Dazzle (yet a strange name for a mom) lets Dylan try his ideas, even when she knows some of them won’t work. It’s only when he may be injured by a hot oven that she says, “No. That’s not a good idea.” At the end of the story, the author provides some starting questions for you and your child to discuss.
Besides the storyline, I like the colorful illustrations and the imaginative characters. I wish that a turn-the-page marker would be added to know where to swipe. Sometimes I had difficulty turning the page and found myself going backward instead of forward. Also, it would be helpful if there was some kind of quick locator of the items on the page where interaction can occur. The interactions are easy to start with a tap and fun, and the sound effects, like Squishy Face laughing or giving kisses, are a joy.