Whether we like it or not, our kids frequently witness activities that are cruel to animals thinking that these are acceptable and they may never find out about the realities behind these practices. As adults, we too don’t think much about the consequences of our actions on the plight of the animals around us. Do we continue to visit animal shows where animals are kept in confined spaces? Do we question where our food come from and how the food industry is run? Are there animal-friendly alternatives to our fashion and food preferences? Are we guilty of contributing to the rising number of abandoned pets? Do we educate our kids enough about animal welfare and wildlife conservation?
I started to think about these issues after sharing the book app, Animal Rescue by PatrickGeorge Ltd with my youngest. This is actually a fun picture book for children to play animal rescue hero but strangely it was thought provoking at the same time. My son enjoyed freeing the animals and with a little prompting, he began to ask why the animals were not happy and wondered why certain actions were wrong. He was also curious to know what happened after he saved them? It is a simple yet powerful app that provided us with lots of learning opportunities.
While Animal Rescue is easy to play and seemingly simple, it is full of surprises for kids to discover. There are 14 animals to be saved in the app. Two side-by-side pages are devoted to each animal – the picture on the right shows the animal in captivity (or cruelly treated) and the left shows a scene where the animal rightfully belongs. A transparent page lies in between the two pages and it has a picture of the animal printed on it. This overlay completes the pages on both sides.
With a flip (swiping or tapping action) of the transparent page from right to left, kids feel empowered as they can transport the animal from captivity to freedom and instantly change the animal’s well being. They can also see the change taking place gradually if they turn the transparent page slowly. What I like best is the clever use of these transparent pages to make the animal from one page becomes part of the other page as we turn the transparent pages back and forth. This two-way flipping shows vividly the damaging effects of our actions and what needs to be done. What is interesting is that you don’t know what is the full story on the other page until you turn the transparent page.
This picture book is also available in a physical book version but the app has the advantage in that readers can immerse in a more interactive environment with various sound effects like the sound of the animals, their natural habitat and the celebratory cheers when an animal is rescued. There are also light animations on each page to entertain the readers.
There are no words in this picture book but there is really no need for them as the bright and colorful illustrations clearly convey the need for animal protection. Being wordless also allows you to pitch your conversations to your child’s level of understanding. It could be just a fun animal rescue story book that introduces your child to empathy for animals, or a conservation awareness book that prompts your child to take a stand on inhumane acts against animals, or an open-ended book to encourage your child to talk about how we can make a difference in the lives of these animals. It can be used for different age groups and purposes in that sense.
Animal Rescue is a simple but educational and meaningful book app that makes a heavy topic easy for young children to understand. It’s a topic that we don’t talk about enough but the fun and ingenious transparent pages in this book app will have children coming back to play and talking often. Every child should have access to this wonderful book, be it at home or in the school.
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Animal Rescue Book
by PatrickGeorge Ltd
Price: $1.99 USD
Help! The animals need rescuing! Fourteen animals to rescue including an orca, an elephant, a lion cub, a puppy...Swipe across to turn the page and then swipe again to rescue! Choose your favourite animal.
NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.
Grace was working in the fields of early childhood education and staff training before quitting to attend to her 4 children full time. She and her family live in Singapore, which is well known for her highly competitive education system.