Dublin, Ireland – Independent developers Chris, James and Simon have announced the release of version 1.2 of their flash card alphabet app, The Lonely Beast ABC, for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. The app – based on Chris Judge’s much loved children’s book The Lonely Beast and built in a shed at the end of the garden – has earned glowing reviews from Boing Boing and Children’s Technology Review as well as plenty of 5-star App Store ratings from happy parents around the world. This latest update boosts responsiveness; renames the app (formerly Alphabeast); overhauls the icon design; and fixes several minor audio bugs.
Planning for the app began in the spring of 2011. The three friends – Chris Judge (illustration and narration), James Kelleher (coding and design) and Simon Judge (music and sound effects) – were determined to find the best way to help kids learn the alphabet and discover new words. “We already knew how well children connected with The Lonely Beast”, says James, “and I’d really fallen for the character myself, as soon as I saw the book. So we decided to lock Chris in a moderately comfortable garden shed until he’d come up with 26 new hand-drawn scenes featuring the Beast and his friends. Once that was done, we set about making them come to life.”
The trio managed to raise part funding of Euro 3,500 ($4,500) through a successful campaign on the Irish crowdfunding site Fund It. Chris decided early on that the app would be an interactive companion piece to the book, not just a simple iPad replica. He says: “We wanted to create something that lived in the same world and elaborated upon it, but could also stand on its own two (hairy) feet. Most important of all, we knew it had to be funny if kids were going to pay any attention to it.” Simon adds “Luckily enough, it turns out we have the same sense of humour as most 4-year-olds.”
Since its release the app has scooped up an Editor’s Choice Award in Children’s Technology Review, a nomination for the Bologna Ragazzi Digital Award at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Apple features in New & Noteworthy and Apps For Kids, and acclaim from Boing Boing, Apps Playground, BabyCenter, Babyccino Kids and AppySmarts among others.
As well as updates with phonics support, new interactions and fresh animations for the ABC app, there are several new app adventures from the Beast due later this year. “We’ve had such an overwhelmingly supportive response from kids, parents and educators,” says Chris, “that we’re really fired up to see what this hairy fellow gets up to next.”
Based in Dublin, Ireland, Pilcrow is an independent publisher of very interesting apps, books and magazines. Copyright (C) 2012 Pilcrow. 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.