Purpose of App: Bert E. Bird the Third and the Book of Great Ideas is a digital storybook about a little bird who writes a book of all of his great ideas. It includes interactive games as well as text.
Strengths: All reviewers agree that the story premise and message were worthy of an app. The settings are a strength, including the ability to turn on and off music and sound effects independently.
Weaknesses: Our reviewers agree that the text of the story needs work. The rhyme and rhythm aren't quite right, and feel forced.
Suggested Audience: Made for ages six through eight, but it may be even better for preschoolers.
Number of Reviewers: Five
Developer: Gil Gur Arie
If you would like to download this app, please support Smart Apps for Kids by using the following link:
Strengths: There are so many story book apps out there but they are not all equal. Bert E. Bird the Third and the Book of Great Ideas is an imaginative story with lots of perks. First, as a mom of two kids with lots of noisy apps, I appreciate the ability to toggle on or off the narration, sound effects and music. My son isn’t a fan of having stories read to him, so he always turns off the narration so he can read it himself, making that option is a must in our house. My daughter loved all the little games and challenges completing a maze to reach the sun or running back and forth to catch milk drops in a bottle until it was full. The little games add some whimsy without a big distraction.
Suggestions: The content of a story can be so subjective. Overall the story of Bert E. Bird was unique and fun, but there were times when the rhyming felt forced or just didn’t work with the flow of the words. There were also times when I had trouble with the swiping and tapping on the screen working the way I wanted. Granted, I was on my phone and no a larger tablet, so that may make a difference. My son also asked if he could go back and play the maze again, but there isn’t a table of contents or a way to easily skip to certain pages. We had to scroll through each page until we found the one he wanted, which was doable but took some patience.
General Opinion: I really feel that Bert E. Bird is on the right track and has so much potential. My kids really enjoyed the story itself and all the little add-ins with games and on screen interactions. Personally, I would like to see the stories rhythm and rhymes flow a little smoother. Overall, it is a fun app with a story celebrating creative thinking and a strong imagination.
Strengths: I thought the animation and the characters were very cute. I do like the message that I took from the story, which was that kids should be encouraged to use their imaginations as much as possible. Technically, I found that this app worked as it should have, with the exception of the page turning function. You could set it turn with a tap or a swipe, and I found the swipe function to be a little temperamental on both devices I tried it on, with a very precise point needing to be touched to swipe the page.
Suggestions: I found the interactive games and elements to be kind of superfluous to the whole app and at times a little bit frustrating. Example of frustration: there is a maze game that I could not get to go backwards if I overshot my mark, it just went straight back to the beginning. I also found the rhyming awkward and forced, to the point that the ideas and train of thought were sometimes lost in the shuffle. I understand the desire to use a story telling mechanism like rhyme in a children’s app, but when it becomes a distraction it might be time to adjust your gameplan a bit.
General Opinion: The story lists all of the grand ideas that Bert E. Bird has and ends up with him deciding to write a book (Bert E. Bird the Third and the Book of Great Ideas, of course). The premise is cute and the message is good, but there are some issues with text and game functionality.
Strengths: Things I liked about this app include the adorable main character, Bertie. I love his bright and simple colors as well as the other character illustrations including sheep that get counted and the birds that show up throughout the book. I also really appreciate the custom settings that include choices for sound, narration, music and page-turning. In addition, no external links or in-app purchases are present.
Suggestions: Weaknesses of this app start with the writing. Although it is trying to be a rhythmic telling of a story, the text is strained in an attempt to manage that and instead makes the story a difficult to follow. I recommend getting rid of this style and sticking with a straight-forward telling. Next, the interactivity is clunky and inconsistent. Some pages are so full of interactivity (such as the four-level ice-cream truck arcade game), while others are single taps like opening a rainbow box or turning on a light. In my experience as a parent and long-time reviewer, a middle ground that includes a challenge that isn't too difficult is the best option. One last recommendation is to include a page selection menu available with the other options throughout the app. Kids get fidgety having to search page after page trying to find that particular part of the story they want to interact with or hear again.
General Opinion: A cute character with solid graphics and a traditional storyline that needs a bit more included to carry off the $3.99 price tag in a crowded app market that may be unfamiliar with the star-power of this character.
Heather (Speech-Language Pathologist and mother of 3)
Strengths: The music and graphics are a strength of Bert E. Bird the Third and the Book of Great Ideas. The narration is smooth and has good expression, and the mini games add a lot of fun to the app. My 13 year old son even spent awhile making a song while "helping" sheep jump over a fence. I really appreciate being able to turn on and off just what I want- I prefer to leave on sound effects and turn off background music, and this app allows it, in addition to narration.
Suggestions: The text needs some improvement. Not all books need to rhyme or follow a regular rhythm. In this case, the book would be better if it simply told the story of Bert. One page reads, "And if dreams had a taste, and they absolutely are in this case, then they would definitely taste like eating chocolate ice-cream in space." That sentence has a major grammar error, in addition to being stilted and not really rhyming. In addition, on the information pop-up that can be used to figure out what to do for each mini game, the word "debris" is spelled "debree."
General Opinion: If the story was cleaned up, this book would be a great addition to any app book lover's device.
Strengths: Bert E. Bird the Third and the Book of Great Ideas has eye-catching graphics and is beautifully drawn out, in the style of Dr. Seuss. This storybook has a soothing narrator allowing you to follow along Bert's journey with ease. Each page has fun funny, engaging and interactive featured games. The idea behind Bert's journey is unique.
Suggestions: I would like Bert E. Bird to fix the repeat option for the kids still learning how to read. In addition, the interactive features did not work well. My son had a hard time using them and was constantly trying to figure out how to navigate the interactive features on each page. In addition, the story line was poorly executed.
General Opinion: While the app description says it's for ages 6-8, I think it is better suited for kids 4 and under. I feel it has potential but it focused too much on extending Bert’s ideas into a rhyming mess. My 5 year old son was not interested in the story line nor the interactive features.