Z Team

Z Team
By zuuka! GmbH

Today begins a new adventure in educational app reviews for Applicable2U. Since my blog started in January of 2011, any app reviews of books that we have done have been for beginning readers, to build vocabulary and to make connections to ones life through the use of interactivity. Interactive books are not just for young ones learning to read. Interactive books can certainly keep the attentions of just about any child and adult. Zuuka has done just that recently. They have brought a popular book series by David Fermer to the iPad, called Z Team. The Z Team is an interactive book written in two languages, English and German. If you are a parent or even an educator trying to encourage independent reading to the most challenged of readers, David Fermer’s book series via the iPad might be just the hook.

Z Team is set in the next millennium and has a very futuristic appearance. The “Table of Contents” page that you might find in typical books, is now an intergalactic dashboard with many options. Upon entering the book, readers will navigate through ten chapters of a story about a boy named Pepe as he starts his new life in Zenitropa with his mother and grandmother. Like most children, team sports are important parts of their lives. For Pepe, football or soccer as we Americans know it as, is his true passion. Come follow him on his journey as he recounts trying to get on a new football team to his father via a letter and present time.

There are a number of things that we like about this type of interactive book. The story can be read by a narrator or yourself. Applicable2U believes that the narrator option is the best choice. Through the authors descriptive details and voice changes, the story will come to life for those reading. Don’t have time to listen to the story in one sitting, don’t panic! Zuuka has thought of that! There is a bookmark button option, when pressed it will hold ones place as they read. A list of bookmarks will be stored within the app which will provide easy access for continued reading. As one reads, they will also notice a football kicking button on their intergalactic dashboard. This button will open the Glossary of the story. Right now, the Glossary provides a visual and description of each character mentioned in the story. It might be interesting to also add possible vocabulary words that readers might struggle with to the Glossary in a future update.

While reading, you might be curious what illustrations were apart of the actual book.  Have no fear, David Fermer’s drawings are also apart of the app.  In a small screen set off to the right are the comic book like illustrations which visualize pieces of the story.  In addition, the Z Team app includes unlike any other interactive book that we have seen the ability to incorporate reading breaks. If you just don’t want to put the book down, but need to “play” a little, then click the football icon in the upper left hand corner. Here you can become part of the team when you play Powerball. You become the football player, but to move you will need to tilt your iPad device from side to side. Powerball can be played with one or two players and have the option to play the easy or hard football field.  But be careful… there are obstacles that might get in your way as you try to get a goal.  Maneuver through small blue cones, if possible try to step on a z-board which will ignite you into speed mode to reach your goal a bit faster, but be sure to avoid the dreaded puddles.  As you play Powerball, you might also notice a strange resemblance that the puddles have with a very famous logo.

Applicable2U was very impressed with the interactive book Z Team.  The way our children read these days is very different from several years ago, regardless the experience is just as important.  Reading should be enjoyable no matter how it is accomplished, whether you read a hardcover, softcover, books on tape or books via your iPad device.  If you have a student or son/daughter this will be an excellent addition to your mobile library collection.  If you would like to learn more about zuuka! GmbH, be sure to click here to visit their website.  Or you can begin downloading the discounted version of Z Team through April 26th from your iTunes library today!

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