“Lift the flaps and step through doors into wonderful worlds that you can explore. Open the door to a fantasy — imagination is your key!” Welcome to Roxie’s Doors (OCG Studios and Roxie Munro, 2011), an interactive lift-the-flap search-and-find app based on author/illustrator Roxie Munro’s 2004 picture book Doors.
The rhyming text (with optional narration by either Roxie herself or male narrator Dirk Kennedy) guides readers through nine doors leading into a firehouse, train car, horse stable, doctor’s office, sailboat, refrigerator door, car repair shop, backstage at a theater, and a spaceship.
Text on the left-hand side of each screen contains five to nine words highlighted in bold red font to indicate objects (including a hat and an apple on every page) to look for behind the door on the right-hand side: “When you’re hungry and want a treat, open this door for good things to eat. Search for some meat and dessert that you freeze. Find bread and butter, eggs, milk and cheese. Explore this space for leftover stew. And look for a hat and an apple, too.” Tapping opens the initial door; opens other, smaller doors within the revealed room; closes doors; and moves objects.
When you’ve touched something the text asked you to find, the image is highlighted, a ding sounds, and the red word turns green, making this app a great word/image association learning tool. The text on the left-hand side is usually still visible once you open the main door as a reference to objects you still need to find. Touch the arrows at the bottom corners to move backward and forward through the app; a pull-down menu at the top of every screen also allows you to jump to different pages within the app and turn the narration and sound on and off.
The text on the first nine screens is only minimally narrative, but at app’s end waits “a door of a different kind — to fantastic worlds that will open your mind”: a book that tells the story of a “big day” in a medieval kingdom. Find a crying baby in one room of a castle, a princess in a tower room, a queen missing her king, and so on through a knight’s battle with a dragon and a jousting tournament. Unlike the app’s other sections, the story does not progress until you find each red-highlighted item or person mentioned; not every object to locate is hidden behind a door. But by this point in the app, you are (hopefully) an expert object-finder able to move the story briskly along.
My only minor complaint: with text taking up half of the screen, it’s hard to see all the objects inside some of the rooms (for instance, in the wide-view fire station scene versus in the close-up fridge). While this does add to the challenge of finding all the hidden objects, I found it much easier to navigate the castle story at the end because the scene filled the entire screen, with text popping up on scrolls in unobtrusive portions of the illustration.
This enjoyable app offers young children a combination of two things they love in books: lift-the-flaps and search-and-find.
Available for iPad (requires iOS 5.0 or later); $2.99. Recommended for preschool and primary users.