Creators: Jane Jensen & Robert Holmes
Cost: Free Sample, $4.99 full version
Recommended ages: 3 -8
Based on my last experience with a paid eBook, I was somewhat reluctant to purchase another; however, Lola and Lucy’s Big Adventure was available as a free sampler, so after testing the free version out on my daughter resulting in both of us falling in love with these two dogs, I made the $4.99 leap and purchased the full version.
Meet Lola & Lucy, four year old English Bulldogs who live with their owners in Vermont. They are perfectly happy with their human siblings, Janie and Dale, Lola and Lucy never really thought about their purpose in life until they met Barney, the Australian Shepherd whose certainty in his own purpose made Lola and Lucy question theirs. Upon returning home, Lucy borrowed Bill’s computer. The two bulldogs find out that their breed was originally bred to help farmers with their bulls. Determined to find a bull and discover their destiny, Lola and Lucy set out on an adventure to New York as this is where they believe that they will be able to find a bull. On their way, they get help from a talented squirrel and an unsuspecting truck driver, following clue after clue, just missing the bull as he travels from farm to farm. Finally a dog named, Trigger seems to understand what Lola and Lucy want and lead them right to a bull; unfortunately, this bull does not care about their quest to find their purpose and promptly scares them away. Back on the road, they head for California and end up at farm where they meet, Old Jack, whose more than willing to have them experiment on him but more importantly shares some important wisdom with Lola and Lucy. Finding a “lost” poster at the farm, Lola and Lucy catch a ride home in a milk truck with a renewed sense of purpose, to be with their human family.
Lola & Lucy are based on real dogs that live with the creators of this eBook on a farm in Pennsylvania. Somewhat reminiscent of Dean Koontz’s series for his beloved Golden Retriever, Trixie, I like the way this extends the opportunities for fans to interact with Lola & Lucy, because they actually exist and many of the illustrations throughout the story were inspired by actual pictures of these two! And, speaking of the illustrations, I was impressed with the quality of these paintings. The vivid colour and detail gave depth to each page while the interactive animations engaged the reader without distracting from the story. Although the text in the picture book version partially blocks out part of the picture, the read aloud version displays the text at the bottom of the screen. Overall, not a big deal, just my own little bug-a-boo!
Whether I was clicking through webpages with Lucy, painting with Lola, the interactive features of this book added to the engagement rather than distracted from it. It allows the reader to connect even more with the story and characters by manipulating objects in the pictures or playing a game to match the words with the pictures. Once the book is finished, readers also have the option of rereading the book as a chapter book or even following Lola and Lucy on Twitter or Facebook.