Children’s storybook apps have all begun to look alike, but MegaPops‘s interactive reading experience Meet Millie (2011) stands alone as the pick of the litter. This first book in the Millie Was Here series chronicles the adventures of a seemingly mild-mannered lap dog — who also just happens to be a hero.
The intentionally cliché movie trailer voice-over narration depicting Millie as a legendary adventurer is swiftly undercut by pop-up photos and videos of an ordinary dog doing ordinary doggy things. The hilarious visual irony combines perfectly with easy-to-figure-out game show–like activities, making for a fresh and entertaining story well-suited to its digital format.
Touchscreen elements such as tabs, sliders, buttons, and spinning wheels encourage young users to follow visual prompts and participate in the action.
While the content is consistently outlandish, there is a bedtime setting on the home page that dims the screen, turns off noisy sound effects, and skips the games entirely for a quieter bedtime read. You can also choose the “read myself” option if the narration is too lively, or if you’re sharing the story with an emerging reader.
Progress badges, intuitive navigation tools, and a virtual sticker hunt throughout the story enhance the overall experience, establishing this app series as one of the best of its kind.
Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (requires iOS 5.0 or later); free. Languages: English, Basque, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Recommended for preschool and primary users.