Off to the Beach, developed by TaleSpring, is a fantastic interactive storybook for iPhone and iPad. Kids will love following along with Dog, Bear, and Duck as they spend a day enjoying everything the beach has to offer.
One of the things I really like about Off to the Beach is that pretty much everything is interactive. This means that kids can enjoy exploring the story beyond reading words on the screen. There are fantastic sound effects, as well.
In order to navigate Off to the Beach, kids and parents can use the navigational arrows located at the bottom of the screen. While this is great because it’s simple, I did notice that there isn’t an easy way to get back to the main screen of the story in order to start over again.
Also, Off to the Beach is lacking a way for parents and children to quickly navigate to individual pages. Most interactive storybooks feature a grid layout of individual pages for quick access.This is just a feature suggestion, though, but it would definitely make it easier for kids and parents to pick up where they left off or navigate to their favorite page.
Along with a fantastic amount of interactive elements and sound effects, Off to the Beach includes narration for the story. In order to activate this, simply tap on the words on a page and they’ll be read aloud. It’s worth noting that narration is incredibly clear and kids shouldn’t have any problems with following along.
Another benefit of on demand narration is that parents don’t have to toggle narration options anytime they want to read the story to their child.
When it comes to potentially hazardous elements such as external links, I did notice that Off to the Beach contains a page at the end of the story that links to social media pages and other sites. These links are for the book publishing company, TaleSpring, and not for the author, Two Bees Books. Unfortunately this might be a turnoff for parents who are concerned about their child accessing external links while using the app alone, so hopefully some sort of password protection can be implemented in the future in order to hide the contact/link page from kids.
Reviewer’s note: Off to the Beach recently released an update to comply with COPPA standards and has fixed the issue with external links.
Overall, Off to the Beach is a wonderful storybook for iOS. The characters are colorful, the story itself is intriguing in educational, and the fact that pretty much everything is interactive will definitely keep kids entertained.
While there are a few minor suggestions for improvements, I still highly recommend it for parents who are looking for another great book to add to their child’s collection.
Off to the Beach requires iOS 6.0 or late and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.
A small fee was paid by the developer for publication of this review