Monday, March 07, 2011

Review: Freight Train app

My kids and I have been enjoying the new(ish) Freight Train by Donald Crews app for iPhone/iPod Touch. Freight Train was first published in 1978 and is a Caldecott Honor Book and ALA Notable Book. I got a review copy of the app a few weeks ago and we've been playing with it. Both of my boys love trains and the print book has always been a favorite of ours. Now that we have it on the iPod they go back and forth between playing with it on the iTouch, where you can listen to train songs and make things happen on the screen while the text is read, and reading it to each other in the print book at bedtime story time. I am happy to see they love both versions equally and when combined the different modalities of app and paper compliment each other very well.

The artwork in the print version is still stunning. The colors are so vibrant they jump right off the page. I adore the way the smoke rolls off the engine as the train moves from page to page, in and out of sunshine and shadow. Now that we have done the app a number of times I can hear the bells and whistles playing while turning paper pages. Somehow the pictures are still more beautiful on paper than they are on the screen.

On the iPod the touch of a finger makes cargo jump in and out of the cars, calls up moo cows, open doors, and rings the bell. There are English and Spanish versions sold separately, but I wish you could do both on the same app. All in all it is very enchanting.

Here is a preview of the app on YouTube:

And here is a video of the author Donald Crews trying out the app on an iPad:

You can find the app in the App Store or at Curious Puppy.

The round up for Nonfiction Monday is over at Picture Book of the Day. Enjoy!

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