Monday, September 23, 2013

Children's iPad Book App Review, Hairy Maclary, Scattercat

Children's iPad Book App Review, Hairy Maclary, Scattercat
by Susan Stephenson,

From the developers:

"Hairy Maclary felt bumptious and bustly, bossy and bouncy and frisky and hustly". Hairy Maclary, everyone's favourite dog, is busy chasing and hustling all the neighbourhood cats from Slinky Malinki to Pimpernel Pugh. But when he comes face to face with Scarface Claw, the toughest tomcat in town, it's Hairy Maclary's turn to be bustled, rustled and hustled!

Run your fingers over the text to hear the story and touch any word to hear and see it spoken and spelt. You can even colour in pages of the story and record your own voice. Hear the barking dogs and the ferocious yowl of Scarface Claw, all part of the interactive experience, giving children and parents’ hours of fun. This is not only a marvellous story, but a superb aid for early learning and literacy development.

It was thirty years ago that a small black dog stepped out of the imagination of author and illustrator Lynley Dodd and onto the pages of a picture book. This book, Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy, is now famous the world over and the 20 titles in the Hairy Maclary and friends series have now sold more than six million copies worldwide.

What I like about it: My absolute favourite thing is that this is Hairy Maclary repackaged for the digital generation. Lynley Dodd's books have always been adored by kids and this book app means children can access the story via the iPad. I've always loved the rhyme, the rollicking rhythm and the gently humorous illustrations of the Hairy Maclary stories, and I was pleased to see the book app retains those features, while adding more.

The developers have included several ideas to enrich the story for its digital life. Kids can record themselves reading it, or ask a favourite adult to do so. There's a paint option where kids can colour the pages. Touch different parts of the illustrations to hear character 'voices'. You'll also find some nifty learn-to-read features.

I admit to being initially taken aback by the narrator's accent. Not the Kiwi voice I'd expected, but a scottish burr that quickly suited the story and brought it to life for me.

At the time of writing this review, the Hairy Maclary, Scattercat app was free from iTunes, today $Au5.49. And if the print version of the book seems like an ideal companion for the app, check it out on Penguin Australia's website.

Hairy Maclary, Scattercat on iTunes

There's lots to explore on the Hairy Maclary website, including resources for a party or library event.

Check out my other iPad Reviews on Pinterest. 


  1. I have to agree with all the accolades but I was even lucky enough to get it when it was on FREE! Pays to watch regularly :)

    1. Yes, it was free when I got it too. I usually post to OZTL when I see good free apps - so many librarians doing it tough with zero money for books or apps.

  2. I love the hairy maclary books. I have fond memories of reading them to a class of fifteen 2 year olds and getting over excited lol :-)
    I will have to look at this free version to share with my little girl. Thanks for sharing

    1. Tracy, as I said above, it was free when I got it but not currently. Keep an eye on it via something like Apps Gone Free though, in case it goes free again!


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