The Barefoot World Atlas is an interactive children’s atlas app for the iPhone and iPad. It consists of an interactive 3D globe that promotes exploration. Browsing can be done by spinning the globe with a finger or pinching to zoom in. There is also a menu where you can search or browse by region, country, state, province or city. Across the globe are objects of interest where you can learn facts, when you tap them you learn more, by either reading on your own or by hearing the narration by BBC presenter Nick Crane. The app also includes mini-videos and puzzles. Favorite places can me marked so you can come back later and explore. The atlas illustrations are interesting and vivid, with great attention to detail. There is also music that changes depending on where in the world you are.
The Barefoot World Atlas app is based on the Barefoot Books World Atlas and created by Barefoot Books and Touch Press. It is only available on the iOS platform, so only an iPad or an iPhone. The initial cost is $0.99. However this only includes a limited amount of features. Additional expansion packs are available for an additional $0.99 each. According to the app store the intended age for this app is ages 9 to 11. However, I believe this app can appeal and easily be used by younger children. Common Sense Media sets the recommended age as 6+ and School Library Journal’s reviews suggests grades K-5.
Both Common Sense Media and School Library Journal review the app favorably. Common Sense Media gave it 4 out of 5 stars and gave it high ratings for engagement and learning approach. School Library Journal reviewed it in 2012 when the app initially launched. In the introduction to the review, they described it as one of the rare apps that “stops us in our tracks.” Cathy Potter reviewed the app and said it as a “highly engaging, educational experience and on that warrants repeat visits.” The app was reviewed again, also by Cathy Potter, in 2014 with the addition of the expansion packs. This review was no less favorable. In fact School Library Journal also listed the Barfoot World Atlas as one of their top 10 apps for 2014.