Lars and Friends introduces kids to Lars, a horse who loves to run around with his herd of horses. When the other horses are too tired to run around, Lars finds other animals to help entertain him. As kids read through this story and interact with its beautiful animations, they’ll also learn what different groups of animals are called. They can then reinforce that knowledge through the app’s learning section or put together the animals they’ve seen throughout the story in the puzzles section. All of these features, combined with the relaxing background music, will keep kids coming back to interact with Lars and his friends.
- Animal puzzles
- Facts about animal groups
- Read to Me option
- Watercolor illustrations
Sweet, relaxing background music greets kids as they open Lars and Friends. Once they enter the app, they can opt to read the story, complete a puzzle, or learn about animal groups, options that are all identified by clear labels at the top of the screen. The book itself is full of beautiful watercolor illustrations, but it could use a bit more interactivity. Kids can tap on Lars and his friends to get them to move a little, but it’s not very involved. They must also tap to have the story read to them on each page, rather than having it read automatically like with similar eBooks. The puzzles and learning activities contained within the app are also fairly simple, but contain many of the same aspects as the beautiful illustrations found in the story.
The story lacks text highlighting and an automatic Read to Me feature that could make it a strong reading app. However, kids can tap on the audio icon on each screen to have the text on each individual page read aloud. They’ll also get a subtle lesson about animal groups as Lars completes activities such as swimming with a school of fish, walking with a memory of elephants, or even hanging out with his own herd of horses. These groups also appear in the learning section of the app where kids tap on pictures of animals to see the names and characteristics of groups of animals.
The beautiful illustrations will draw kids into the story about Lars and his friends. While not as complex as in other eBooks, the interactive elements will also help keep kids interested as they read. After getting through the story, younger kids will appreciate the app’s puzzles which have kids put together pictures of many of the animals they found in the story.
Lars and Friends is priced comparably to other interactive eBooks for kids. While it lacks complex interactive components, it makes up for it by offering simple puzzles and learning activities for kids.
Kids will find it easy to read and interact with the story and other components of the app. If they’re not sure where to tap, a TAP icon appears on each page of the story. To access the settings screen, kids must get beyond a parental gate that has parents drag two triangles simultaneously into circles. As hard as it is for parents to get through the parental gate, it seems like it would be nearly impossible for young fingers to complete the task and access the additional information about the story.