Ellison the Elephant is a heartfelt e-story about a young elephant who finds his unique voice with the help of an unexpected friend. It’s a familiar theme, written in a new way with beautiful illustrations and a nicely narrated audio component. You can take it at your own pace or have it set to “auto play.” And another nice option is that you can read it yourself, while still enjoying the added sound bytes from some of the illustrations when you tap on them.
I love a children’s story that incorporates music, but I admit, when reading to my daughter, I often use my own melody for whatever jingle there is in the story. The music that plays when Ellison finds his “call” is beautiful, well-written, and fun to listen and move to. Not to mention, it saves my daughter from that same familiar tune that I’ve used for everything else.
That said, there are a few drawbacks to this app as well. Once we were done, my daughter wanted more from it. A memory game, puzzle, coloring page or something else that would expand on the story. They add further talking points about the story and make her open the app over and over again. This did not happen with Ellison. She enjoyed the story, but I see this as very probably being a one-time use app for us. Other kids may enjoy looking at the same books over and over again, but there are only a handful of books that my daughter enjoys repeating. Ellison just may not be one of them for her. However, if there were a game associated with it, she’d go back again and again.
From a technical standpoint, there were some things that we found confusing as well. When you swipe the page, it doesn’t always turn the page, but will sometimes zoom out to reveal more of the frame. However, for a 3-year old this is confusing and she would often keep swiping until she saw the page turn, thus missing part of the story and we’d have to go back. Also, it’s not always clear when exactly the characters will make a noise if you tap on them. We spent a lot of time tapping around and wondering if we were missing something, especially since it seems as though you have to let your finger linger on the image longer than normal to activate the sound byte.
All in all, Ellison the Elephant is a nice story and certainly a deal over purchasing the print edition. But as an interactive app for the iPad, I think it has some expectations to live up to. At least the expectations of my tech –savvy preschooler.
- Beautiful illustrations and lovable characters.
- Jazz sounds are unique and authentic
- Words are spoken when you touch them, so you can repeatedly work on sounding out a particular word by hearing it over and over.
- Page turn swipes are unpredictable. Re: the zoom-out vs. page-turn.
- Not sure when characters will make noise. Would be nice if they were somehow highlighted, or always made a noise when you tap on them.
- Would like to see some more interactive extras in the app, considering the price.
- Platform: iPad, iPhone, Android
- Publisher: Oceanhouse Media
- Cost: $2.99
- Recommended Age: 4+
Disclosure: We received a complimentary copy for review purposes. There was no promise of a positive review and the opinions contained in this post are the author’s.