At first glance, the premise of the Lazoo Squiggles! (August 2012) app sounded as if it might be interesting for about ten minutes, tops: draw squiggles to make cars go fast, rockets zoom into space, clouds rain, and flowers grow.
After a thirty-minute first glance, however, I realized the creators are more imaginative than I am. There is a story component to the app, but the real draw (so to speak) are those pages where users are encouraged to add squiggles to different brightly colored settings. After picking your scene — e.g., a bunny in a garden, sheep in a field, kids with cotton candy, rockets in space, undersea creatures — draw some squiggles (you choose the color, the drawing tool, stickers). Tap the GO button to animate your creation. There are fifteen settings to choose from, including two that aren’t as dynamic: a blank page to draw your own illustration or the option to draw on a photo or image.
The animation offers some funny surprises and silly sound effects, both of which keep things interesting and fresh. The characters are kid-friendly and inviting, and the style of the illustrations makes them hard to resist.
For those who can’t get enough of the characters, the (untitled) story features Miku the rabbit and Bobu the monkey. The two friends chase three jumping beans in a car, up a tall tree, and onto the moon. With the help of some strategically placed squiggles (coming from the tailpipe, for example), they manage to round up the beans. I recommend picking the “Read to Me” option, to avoid having to read the dull text aloud and to spend more time with the engaging pictures.
Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch; free. Recommended for preschool users.