App Review: Sesame Street / ScrollMotion Books [for Touchpad] | webOS Nation

App Review: Sesame Street / ScrollMotion Books [for Touchpad] 14

by Adam Marks Thu, 07 Jul 2011 11:17 pm EDT

Elmo on the TouchPad

If you have little children (or are just a child at heart), you probably have hours of Sesame Street episodes DVRed, a Tickle Me Elmo doll and a ton of Sesame Street books that you read to your little ones. If you have a Touchpad, you can now add interactive books to that list. ScrollMotion Kids has released a line of books into the App Catalog for $1.99 each, with a handful of Sesame Street titles, as well as a Curious George and Arthur book for your reading pleasure.

When you first load up the app (Elmo's Birthday, in this example), you are brought to the cover page of the book. A small down arrow on the top-left corner brings down a menu to jump back to the Cover page (where you currently are), start the book from the beginning, or go to the help screen. There is also a button on the bottom-right that will also start the book.

Elmo on the TouchPad

Once in story mode, you will see the first "page" of the book, with the text of the story written on the bottom of the screen. If the Touchpad's sound is turned on, you will also hear a narrator read the story to you. If the Touchpad's sound is muted, you will obviously not hear any sound. To navigate the story, you need to swipe across the screen to continue. Right-to-left to go forward, left-to-right to go backwards, as if you were turning the page. The book will pan and zoom around the current "page" a bunch of times to tell the story, until it gets to the next page. You can also press the table-of-contents button on the bottom-left to jump to a specific page.

Elmo on the TouchPad

Once the story is complete, it moves into an "educational" section that back-tracks through the story and provides the definition of some "everyday words" that were used throughout the story. This was fitting with the spirit of Sesame Street and provides a nice "bonus" to the story.

While the app was pretty simple and easy to use, there are definite areas that could be improved. While the narrator does a decent job reading the story, it just felt awkward at times. He would try to change his voice for Elmo, Elmo's Mom, Elmo's Dad, Ernie, etc., and I found it more annoying than beneficial. In addition, I would have liked to see an "auto play" that would just go through the whole book and not rely on the swipes to progress through the story. Often times my 2 1/2 year old daughter would point at the screen to show me something, but that would cause the story to go to the next (or previous) page. In addition, if you leave the app in the middle of the book, there was no way to resume the story where you left off.

Finally, the book has a tendency to crash at times. You turn the page and the app could just spontaneous close. As these apps are just a port from iOS (at the end of the story, it even tells you to look for more books on iTunes!), they may need some more optimization or bug fixes. When that happened, it was tough to explain to my daughter why Elmo just went away (and with no auto-resume, it took time to find where we left off). However, she still asks to "See Elmo book on Touchpad" and enjoys when we read it together. If your little ones are a fan of Sesame Street and enjoy reading, you may want to try picking up one of these books and seeing how they like it. Just be ready for those occasional crashes.

Update 8/6/11 - We recently saw an update to v1.0.3 of the Elmo's Birthday storybook app. With the update, the developer add a few major enhancements that address almost all of the issues I had. You now have the ability to activate an "auto-play" mode, as well as a toggle to turn the narration or the text captions on or off.

Elmo on the TouchPad



My son would love this

crashing seems to be a sticking trend on TP lately.

"(at the end of the story, it even tells you to look for more books on iTunes!)"

LOL...well, to be fair, that is accurate.


Thanks for the review of an app targeted towards family/children. It's amazing how quickly and easily children take to touchscreen devices. My 3 year old recognizes the differences between an ipod, nokia n8, a pre2, and a leapfrog pad (not necessarily in order of OS preference). :) I am looking forward to seeing more high quality apps in this vein.

I read on Engadget about the Crayola Colorstudio that looks awesome and wish the TP had these type of quality apps instead of ports of ibooks that crash!

Of course you do. This is why "targeting the top 20/100/200" apps is pointless. Because while these books may have been a top children's app at one point, something newer and better like Crayola Colorstudio comes along. And something will supersede that. It's a constantly moving target.

Either aim forward or prepare to remain behind.

Yep. It's gone from "We are using web technology and there are thousands and thousands of developers ready" to "Quality over Quantity" to "Please port your apps" to "You're just chasing fads". /smh

Is Mr. Noodle or Mr. Noodle's Brother Mr. Noodle in it? If not then I am not buying it!

HP's strategy is starting to become more clear when adding this title to the release of the Veer. They are ceding the "hip and cool" demo to Apple and instead targeting kids. Little kids with really small hands. (rolleyes)

Just get a pre3. Available in stores now... or in a few weeks... or in a few months...

Awesome enterprise software !

my 2 year will love this :)
hopefully next version of app will have "auto play" mode


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