September 27, 2011

Journey into the Deep

Journey into the Deep: Discovering New Ocean Creatures
by Rebecca L. Johnson

In 2000, scientists from around the world began a ten-year quest to learn more about the ocean and everything that lives in it. They named their quest the Census of Marine Life

In this book app, Rebecca L. Johnson takes readers on an underwater journey as part of the Census team. As you explore eight different ocean depths, from the shallow edges to the unfathomable deep, you encounter all sorts of wondrous creatures while getting a first-hand look at how scientific expeditions are conducted. Packed with spectacular photographs, the book can really captivate readers. An especially dramatic photo is that of a whale skeleton on the ocean floor. By tapping and scrolling, you can view the entire skeleton.

The book is very well-written and entertainingly informative. But the app does have a few problems. Firstly, the chapters are stacked, meaning that you have to scroll up and down to read a chapter, but then scroll across to get to the next chapter. This takes time to get used to; users can easily get lost. Secondly, you can't bookmark, search, highlight, or make notes. And thirdly, the app doesn't contain enough videos. There are only three - an introduction by the author, a long 6-minute film at the end of chapter 4, and the capture of a sea cucumber in chapter five. There are also a few "slideshows" which make you tap an icon to see the next slide. The film, which depicts the motion of many sea creatures, is fascinating and, due to its length, hypnotizing as well. Unfortunately, none of the creatures are named, but I was able to identify the obvious ones such as squid, jellyfish and octopi.

All in all, Journey into the Deep is an excellent book app on an extremely interesting subject.

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