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Shake it up

Night & Day Studios’ new app Shake & Make! (May 2011) draws upon artist Ed Emberley’s huge body of collage, doodle, and thumbprint illustrations.

A single image (such as a face, animal, or vehicle) appears on a white background with the message “Shake to play!” Shaking your device breaks the picture into components that float around the screen. You must recreate the image by repositioning its various pieces within one minute; users are rewarded one point for every second remaining on the clock when the picture is complete.

I had better luck tilting the iPad around until pieces stuck in place rather than dragging them into position as instructed; for those of you who do follow the rules, pressing “hint” reminds you of the original image, but costs five seconds on the timer.

The puzzles are organized into sets by theme or illustration style; solving two puzzles in a set unlocks the next. The artwork is, in classic Emberley fashion, accessible and ingeniously simple, but increases slightly in complexity as you make your way through the sets.

Funk-band-meets-arcade-game background music, well-chosen sound effects, and a top score list add to the fun. The menu allows users to turn on or off several of the app’s features, including sound effects, music, timer, and — thank god — the dizzying “twirly” option, which spins pieces around and around with a whirling sound when they’re placed in the correct position.

While Shake & Make!, like Night & Day’s educational apps Peekaboo Forest and My First App, is based upon the recognizable work of a well-known artist, this time they’ve opted to emphasize entertainment over education. That said, the app does offer a nice introduction to Emberley’s style while prompting users to consider how he constructs his expressive and deceptively simple illustrations with basic shapes.

Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (requires iOS 4.3 or later); $1.99. Recommended for preschool and primary users.

Katie Bircher About Katie Bircher

Katie Bircher, associate editor at The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MA in children's literature from Simmons College. Follow Katie on Twitter @lyraelle.



  1. I’m loving the occasional book app review you’re including at Out Of the Box. I hope that some of you come over to the Cybils and nominate your favorite book app for kids! It’s the first year that the Cybils is including this, and we’re trying to generate some enthusiasm for this new medium.

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  1. […] into the Horn Book offices.” The blog covers new reads, interesting finds (such as the cool app Shake & Make), and comical musings. After reading Sutton’s A Family of Readers, I grew to understand Horn […]

  2. […] of other Night & Day Studios apps: Peekaboo Forest, Ed Emberley’s Shake and Make, Lincoln Peirce’s Big Nate: Comix by U!, and Eric Carle’s My Very First App. /* […]

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