Jack and Joe (US $2.99) is the first of what will surely become a series of interactive storybooks for small children from the Stupid Art Company. This is an independent universal app written and illustrated by Bard Hole Standal and programmed by his brother Odin Hall Standal. It’s a 27 page buddy story about the friendship of Jack, a cute blonde haired boy, and his Siberian Husky puppy Joe. The illustrations are appropriately simple and colorful, telling a warm and comforting story that is sure to please the smallest of readers. There’s nothing scary here outside of a threatening bee. With the excellent narration of Katie Leigh, the story is read with no words being highlighted.
This isn’t one of those books where you need to touch everything to start animations. On most pages there is movement, but little to no interactivity. I don’t consider this to be a problem since too many similar books make kids go on treasure hunts, touching everything and losing the track of the simple story. The straight reading is mixed up with activities that seem just right. At one point you need to shake the iPad or iOS device to shake Jack and Joe out of a tree. In another, there is a coloring page where five colors of chalk let you color a picture on the sidewalk. The centerpiece is a nicely animated and choreographed dance sequence that I really enjoyed. Check out the video after the break to get the feel of the book. I think that small kids will be delighted.