iDinobook: Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs for iPad

iDinobook: Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs for iPad

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iDinobook iPad App Review
Detailed files for each dinosaur include slips of paper explaining food preferences, relative sizes, and the meaning behind those complicated names.

Dinosaurs continue to captivate us. Although scientists have yet to uncover many details about them, the amount we do know can fill a huge book. And the folks at 4fig have put it all into this beautiful app.

The opening menu is designed to evoke an archeologist’s field journal and the subsequent content screens look like a scientist’s office filing cabinet. That does not sound beautiful, but it actually is. The Index presents dinosaurs in alphabetical order by their complicated names (like Acrocanthosaurus), shown as labels on hanging file folders. Touch a file label along the left and the file is pulled out onto the right. The file includes a snapshot of the dino’s skull bones and “sketched” notes of its geologic period, region of origin, size, and food preference. The folder is likely to also include a coffee mug stain to increase the effect. Touch the curled up corner of the folder, and you will be treated to colored notes and grid paper, all covered with facts and details about your selected dino. For example, Acrocanthosaurus was a Cretaceous-era bipedal predator with a row of tall neural spines along its neck, back, hips, and tail; it was also larger than an elephant.

Don’t let the science babble scare you. The vast storehouse of knowledge is presented in a graphically pleasing manner and is easily broken out into small bits of info, letting users wade in carefully or dive in head-first. Additional modes of use include a region overview (look a map to see which dinos lived where) and a quiz.

The name iDinobook makes it sound like a cute app for grade-schoolers who may be just learning about dinos, but this is really an encyclopedia at your fingertips. Younger kids will love to see the size relation silhouettes – which dinos were smaller than you? Which were bigger than the car? – and the fossil snapshots. The older kids will be able to read the details for themselves and learn something new with each use. Older students and adults will be able to grab hold of the dense data and never let go.

At $4.99, it is among the pricier apps that are not directly related to business, but it has so much quality content, it’s actually a great value.

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