Winken, Blinken and Nod for iPad

App review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
Winken, Blinken and Nod for iPad App Poster Image
Revolutionary app uses your voice, but doesn't always work.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

The ability to read is a must if children want to use the app by themselves, and this old poem has some archaic language in it that may not be the easiest for new readers to nail. You also need to speak loud and clearly for the app to pick up and correctly interpret your words. You can tap a word if the app doesn't recognize your speech.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Winken, Blinken and Nod for iPad is the first book app to recognize and react to human speech. You don't turn pages here; rather, you read the text aloud and the story only moves on after you've spoken a sentence aloud (or tapped the words). Be aware, though, that this 19th-century poem has some archaic turns of phrase that may not be the easiest for brand new readers to understand on their own. Also note that the reader's speech needs to be loud and clear, or the app may not react to it.

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Is it any good?

WINKEN, BLINKEN AND NOD FOR IPAD marks a great new direction for book apps. Casting you as the narrator and having the scenes change as you read words on the page is a brilliant innovation. And once the process is perfected, we'll probably see some truly superior apps made that way.

This one offers a bit of difficulty, as the software doesn't always seem to catch what you'd said. Sometimes words that are spoken correctly highlight and trigger an animation; other times they just don't light up, as if the mic didn't hear you at all. These misfires don't occur the majority of the time, but if a preschool reader is using the app to test her new skills, she might get frustrated by any glitches. It's certainly worth mentioning, though, that the animation, all of which is done with paper cut-outs, is adorably sweet. The app may have been better served by including a standard "we read to you" mode. But there's no denying that Winken, Blinken and Nod is a very cool new step in the evolution of book apps.

App details

  • Device: iPad
  • Price: $1.99
  • Release date: August 22, 2011
  • Category: Books
  • Size: 42.60 MB
  • Publisher: Larva Labs Ltd.
  • Version: 1.0.5
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 3.2 or later

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