San Francisco, California – In its first week on the App Store, Axel’s Chain Reaction got thousands of downloads worldwide, making it rank among the top 25 Apps for Ages 6-8 category in 48 countries. This story app about a boy with special needs ranked N4 in the iPad Apps for Ages 6 to 8 in Canada and Ireland, N7 in Australia, Taiwan, South Africa, Spain, and Portugal, and N10 in the U.S. and India. In the iPhone Apps for ages 6 to 8, it ranked N7 in Hong Kong, and #10 in Norway and Israel.
The book app’s story, illustrations, educational content, and interactions seamlessly integrated into the narrative, garnered positive reviews and buyer’s attention in its first week out. The app includes an open-ended creation game inside the story, and an Extras section with hands-on activities for kids to make three kinetic sculptures at home -an uncommon feature in story apps.
Axel’s Chain Reaction is about a creative boy who has a hard time connecting with his peers because of his distracted, fidgety behavior. Axel struggles with challenges that many children face: clumsiness, making friends, and on top of it all, Daniel, the class bully. In an attempt to win over his classmates, Axel – inspired by examples of great Kinetic Art – strives to create an impressive moving sculpture.
“There are many children’s books about being different, but only a small percentage of fiction stories that specifically address developmental differences. Even fewer titles promote the notion of opening our minds to embrace these kids as part of the group, and celebrating their special interests or talents,” says the app’s creator and executive producer, Allison Pomenta. “It’s very important to give children a chance to express themselves according to their particular skills and abilities.”
Standing out in the Apps for Ages 6 – 8 Category:
Most of the book apps for kids in the App Store are concentrated in the Preschool category, and high quality book apps for Elementary School children do not abound. Axel’s Chain Reaction stands out not only for its story and exceptional illustrations, but because of the way the interactions are integrated into the narrative. Some interactions are necessary in order to make the story progress. Other interactions are optional, as they activate complementary character dialogues, thoughts, and images to expand the reader’s experience of the situations Axel goes through. If the reader wants to explore the illustrations in depth, there are also hidden texts that expand storytelling with additional information about Axel’s creative process. Animations and sound effects underscore important parts of the narrative, so enhancements are story-related and reinforce messages in the story.
Not only does the story itself offer a creative use of interactivity. The app includes open-ended games for creative play. Tapping on a tray in Axel’s kitchen will open the opportunity to use objects from Axel’s search to create any animal the reader can imagine, and then store the pictures in the device’s camera roll. An update to app will include an open-ended 3D domino effect game. Here children will be form paths with lines of dominoes in order to form figures they can see from any angle, and place toys or props along the paths in order to activate these chain reactions with real physics behaviors.
* Extras include a glossary and biographies of the 3 kinetic artists featured in story
* Hands-on DIY activities for kids to make kinetic sculptures
* Clear and easy-to read font. The app will show a larger font when viewed on smaller iPhone screens
* v1.1 has audio/text syncronization and manual option to change paragraphs
* Settings options include turning off the voiceovers, or turning off all sounds
* Navigation settings provide access to a page index
* Language that is age-appropriate
* Children’s voices were used for all kid characters
* Links that could take kids outside the app are locked behind a parental gate that requires adults to answer a math question (percentages questions)
* This app is part of the Moms With Apps’ “Kown what’s inside” program and complies with COPPA’s and Apple’s new rules for kids apps
* iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
* Requires iOS 4.3 or later
* Universal Application
* Optimized for iPhone 5
* 133 MB
Pricing and Availability:
Axel’s Chain Reaction 1.0 is $2.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Books category.
Axel’s Chain Reaction is co-produced by Allison Pomenta and Cubic Jigsaw. The publisher and creator of this app, Allison Pomenta, is an editor, writer, art educator, and museum professional. Development was carried out by Cubic Jigsaw, the edutainment division of Higuera Studios, based in San Franscisco and Bogota, Colombia. All Material and Software (C) Copyright 2013 Allison Pomenta. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other trademarks and registered trademarks may be the property of their respective owners.