It never ceases to amaze me how creative app developers are becoming these days. This app, called Sherlock Holmes for the iPad, is a new, interactive book app from Gutenburgz. The developer has taken five short mysteries featuring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famed character and created a series of stunning scenes from which to tell the tales.
Fun Educational Apps TOP PICK - For kids aged 12 and older
Sherlock Holmes, the celebrated detective, is not your typical hero. He’s quirky and slightly abrasive in his personal dealings, but if there is a crime to be solved, he is the person to solve it. He is a master of deductive reasoning, and he is able to close each case and finger the real culprit. Ironically, the most obvious suspect often turns out to be innocent of the crime. The five mysteries include: “The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet,” “The Five Orange Pips,” “The Red-Headed League,” “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle,” and “ The Adventure of the Speckled Band.” What makes these stories so enjoyable is the delight the reader gets from figuring out the clues just before Holmes explains it.
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This app falls in a very different genre than do most of the apps reviewed here. The subject matter is mature and the reading level is very difficult. The images on each page evoke an era of sinister mayhem. The sights, sounds, and music all work together to create this eerie mood from which the story gradually unfolds. Normally, I don’t like background music playing in an app, but in this case, it is extremely well-done, and it enhances the overall effect. Each page is crafted so that an object or a character becomes the center of attention, and with a tap or a swipe, it changes into something else.
Sherlock Holmes for the iPad was tested by our 13 year old, not a big reader ... And he loved it! He started to read one short story, then two ... And ended it up reading all five in no time. Even though there is no read to me option ... He really enjoyed the way the app is designed, found it engaging, entertaining and liked uncovering all the interactive features. It is not often that we see top book app for that age group and our teenage tester decided it deserves a TOP PICK feature on Fun Educational Apps!
Overall - Sherlock Holmes for the iPad presents a series of short stories that are woven together with stunning artwork and animated features. Be aware-the stilted language of the 19th century is preserved in the dialogue, and as a consequence, the events and descriptions can be confusing. Here is an example:
“I should be happy to advance it without further parley from my own purse,” said I, “were it the other hand, I am to do it in the name of the firm, then in justice to my partner I must insist that , even in your case, every business like precaution should be taken.” (from “The Adventures of the Beryl Coronet”)
As you might expect, the content of these stories is not suitable for children under the age of 12 (dealing with death , murder, mayhem, hate crimes, etc.) and the reading level is definitely that of an adult. Although I think tweens and teens would be intrigued by the stylistic drawings and the interactivity, they might be turned off by the unfamiliar vocabulary and complex sentence structure. I could envision this app being used in a high school literature class or home school setting with adult guidance.
Sherlock Holmes for the iPad is available for download via the iTunes App Store - iPad and iPad Mini App
Free to download with first story free - 4 others available via in-app purchase at 0.99 US$ each.
See it in action:
AppReviewed by Julie -
Julie P. - I am a speech/language pathologist (SLP) currently working in a school setting, serving children with special needs ages 6-14. My iPad has become my favorite therapy tool. I am passionate about my work and my students, and I am excited about the possibilities for using technology in education.
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Disclosure: This review was move up the waiting list priority-services. All opinions expressed are purely that of the author.