Herbie the Hedgehog is a pleasant and engaging ebook intended for young children. It includes interactive illustration, narration, and three modes of play. The story is also available in four different languages with optional text boxes on each page.
- English, French, Spanish and German narration available
- Interactive images hidden on most pages
- Optional auto-play, narration, and read to myself modes
- Show or hide text on each page
- Expressive narration to aid comprehension
Herbie the Hedgehog is a high quality app that is responsive and performs well. The gesture used to turn pages is reliable and intuitive, as readers swipe from the corner of the screen with an image of a curled page corner. The narration is clear and well-paced. Animations hidden in the illustrations are varied and well-connected to the story.
Developers should make it easier for users to find the “Home” option included in each scene. Presently, it appears only when the text is revealed by activating the “text” button on each screen. There should also be an option in the settings to show the text automatically instead of requiring users to reveal the text manually on each page. Finally, there is a glitch in the ninth scene (just before the part where Herbie finds the apple) that causes the text to be duplicated four times, which covers the illustration almost completely and could be quite confusing to young readers.
Herbie the Hedgehog is a fun ebook with several educational aspects. Most scenes contain hidden interactions that are hinted at by the narration. Children who listen carefully and follow directions will find them more quickly and easily than kids who simply tap and swipe at random. The app does include printed text that can be shown on each page, helping early readers cement the relationship between printed and spoken words in much the same way as reading aloud does.
Herbie the Hedgehog offers users an excellent opportunity to see and hear several other languages in the narration. Parents should be aware, however, that the English version of the app is presented in British English, so there are some unusual usages and accents.
Most of the interactive animations are well-connected to the story, such as when the narrator describes how Herbie can curl into a prickly ball, a tap on the hedgehog causes him to do so. The app does seem to miss several opportunities for game-like interactions, however. There is a nice scene where users tap the hedgehogs that appear and disappear to score points that I’m sure children will love. There is another scene, though, where Herbie hears a voice before he sees its owner, and that seems like a great chance to build in a hide-and-seek game where users could look around the forest scene by moving leaves and the like. More game-like interactions would definitely increase the educational power of this app.
This app will engage and entertain young children in much the same fashion as a storybook. If the child latches on and decides it is a “favorite” that should be read again and again, it will see a lot of use. On the other hand, some children are likely to use it a few times and then quickly grow tired of it once the hidden animations are fully explored. The story is not particularly gripping, which will help it appeal to kids with a strong desire for security and predictability, but the lack of a serious problem for the main character may seem boring to more adventurous readers.
The first twelve scenes of this story are offered without charge from the App Store, then parents will need to purchase the remaining 8 or so scenes for $3.99 as an in-app purchase. The first part of the story may not be exciting enough to intrigue young users into requesting purchase, and the price tag seems a bit steep considering that there are few extra features or games in the app besides the animated interactions.
Herbie the Hedgehog is very child-friendly. The required in-app purchase to finish the story is obvious to children, but it is protected by a random multiplication fact that should be beyond the comprehension of the target audience. The settings for language selection, speakers, and background sounds are all accessible to children from the home screen.
- NO external links
- NO social media
- NO 3rd party ads
- YES in-app purchase (protected, but visible)
- YES “more apps” (protected, but visible)
Herbie the Hedgehog is a cute story with read-to-me, read-aloud and auto-play options to make it suitable for young children in a wide variety of situations. The easy choice of languages makes it a great way to introduce or expose youngsters to other ways of speaking.