App Review: Millie Was Here, Book 1: Meet Millie

Millie Was Here, Book 1: Meet Millie
By Megapops LLC
Requires iPad with iOS 3.2 or later
Free, available through the Apple App Store
Age Range: 4+

Meet Millie is the first in a series of interactive e-book apps for the iPad. This particular app is free, but its sequel, Millie and the Lost Key, is not.

Meet Millie feels a bit like an extremely affectionate dog owner who also happened to be a software programmer got bored one day and decided to turn the family jokes about her dog’s superpowers into an iPad app. Fortunately, her jokes are actually funny, and the videos of her dog pretty cute.

Like most ebooks on the iPad, Meet Millie offers both “Read It To Me” and “Read It Myself” modes, enabling parents to snuggle up with their kids and treat the application as a traditional, if a bit more interactive, storybook if they want.  We mostly use “Read It To Me” mode, in part because this lets the Four-Year-Old use the app to amuse herself, and in part because the narrator’s voice makes everything that much funnier.

The tale of Millie’s superpowers, which include–but aren’t limited to–making herself and her bits of cheese disappear, is interrupted periodically with games. Every page has a hidden sticker, which kids can collect as they go along. Readers can also feed Millie bacon, bones, and kibble because “super dogs need super foods to keep their powers strong.” My favorite interruption is Millie’s Treasure Hunt, where you turn over the cushions of the family couch and try to find as many moldy noodles, slabs of cheese, and stale pizza crusts as possible before the dust bunnies get you.

The UI is intuitive enough that The Four-Year-Old required absolutely no instruction to read the book. Arrows at the bottom of the screen move you to the next or previous page, and a star pulls up a menu with option to start over, go to a specific page, see your sticker collection, or change the program’s settings.

For those of you who include ebooks in your evening storytime roster, the app includes a Bedtime Mode, which (literally) dims the lights, lowers the volume, and turns off the more disruptive games.

And did I mention The Four-Year-Old loves Millie? Last night during bath time, she started acting out scenes from the Millie Was Here series using her bath toys. I would tell you more, but I would hate to spoil the plot.

And now it’s your turn. Found any good apps for your preschooler on either the Android, iPhone, or iPad?

Related Links:

  • Petfinder.com: An online, searchable database of pets in 14,000 shelters across the U.S. who need homes.
  • Pets.Answers.com: Run by veterinarian, author, and journalist Lorie Huston Pet.Answers.Com provides lots of good information about caring for your pet.
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About Shala Howell

Writer of things ranging from optical network switching white papers to genetic testing patient education materials to historical fiction set in an 1880s asylum. When I’m not scratching my head over pesky characters who refuse to do things how I want them done or dreaming of my next book (which will of course be much easier to write than the current one), my writerly self can be found blogging about life with a very curious Ten-Year-Old at Caterpickles.com, or musing about books and the writing life at BostonWriters.wordpress.com.
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