This is a heartwarming story in which Lucy, who has been left out by the other ladybirds and lacks confidence, is encouraged by the other animals that she meets to find her own way in life. Her friends the frog, caterpillar, fish and bird all remind her about a different aspect of her beauty such as her ability to float smoothly, or her sparkling eyes, before giving her one of their own brightly coloured spots.
In the end, with her back full of multi-coloured spots donated by her friends, she find she still doesn’t fit in with the ladybirds, whose spots are all black. But in a nice twist, they all decide that actually they would like to fit in with her, in a huge multi-coloured explosion of spots!
Sharon King-Chai’s illustrations are a real delight and translate brilliantly to the iPad – bright, bold and clean, they seem to really pop off the screen.
The interactive features have been well thought out too. They focus on the key elements of the story – the search for Lucy’s spots, and the journey through the seasons. The reader can help each creature give their spots to Lucy, and move them around on her back. As Lucy gains her spots, you can swipe over the monochrome leaves, snowflakes or flowers to reveal their seasonal glory. As she meets her animal friends you can make flowers grow on branches, pop snowflakes and swish autumn leaves around the screen. It’s a great way of learning about the seasons as you read. There is a helpful Question Mark box at the top left to let you know what is interactive on each page. The text highlights as it is read and the narration is very clear.
There is a particularly catchy song by singer-songwriter Kirsty Almeida to accompany the story, and a short Karaoke video is included with the app. Colouring pages are also included.
Lucy Ladybird is already published as a picture book by Templar (2013) and the quality of the story and illustrations, matched by the quality of the app developed by Iain Clark, make this a very nice addition to any book app collection. It is definitely pushing the higher end of app pricing, but I would argue it is worth the little extra.
Lucy Ladybird, developed by Sharon King-Chai and Iain Clark, compatible with iPad. Available from https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/lucy-ladybird/id690850257?mt=8 priced at £3.99/$5.99 at time of writing.