When the guys from JibJab approached me recently to let me know they had released an iPad app I couldn’t wait to try it out. JibJab are deservedly famous and lauded for their excellent satirical animated videos, and now their range of funny animated eCards.
Their iPad app is JibJab Jr. – a storybook app that lets you put your own photos into the face of the lead character in each story. So your kiddo can be the protagonist if you like. Here’s a bit of the App Store page intro for the app:
With JibJab Jr. Books, you can make your child the STAR of the show. In just a few simple swipes, you can create personalized storybooks that feature your child’s face and name. Your child will be enthralled by the great stories, colorful art, and awesome animations in every JibJab Jr. book. Our mission is to enhance the special wind-down time you spend with your child sharing stories at bedtime. So download the app, turn out the lights and take your child on a personalized journey unlike anything they’ve ever experienced before!
Sadly, this app is a big disappointment. The two stories I read are nice enough, humorous stories. The drawings and basic animation on the pages are fun, as is seeing your child or dog or yourself as the lead character.
That’s it for the positives though. What really stands out about the app is how much is missing from it. For instance, it is very much s standard by now for iPad eBooks that there is an option to read the story yourself (or have your child do so) or to have it read to you, generally via very professionally-done voiceovers. This option is not available in JibJab Jr.. In fact, there’s no sound at all in the app.
There are also no interactive elements on the pages – zero. This is another staple feature for good kids eBooks on the iPad that has been left out.
The pages are quite static and just plain boring compared to many other titles, and the novelty of using your own faces for the story’s hero wears off quickly. My 8 year old daughter has read tons of eBook titles on the iPad with me. This is a rare one where she didn’t have enough interest to get to the end of either of the two stories we tried.
I’ve seen far better and far more fun iPad titles from publishers with nowhere near the background that JibJab has. This feels like a very rushed or just plain lazy effort on their part.
Oh, and it’s also priced steeply for what it offers. It’s a free app, but only offers one free story, called The Biggest Pizza Ever. Beyond that, you either have to purchase individual stories at $7.99 a pop, or take out a subscription at $3.99 per month.
This app wouldn’t make a good pizza – it’s overpriced and underdone.
Here’s an App Store link for JibJab Jr.; it’s a free app with In-App purchases as mentioned above.