With Earth Day just a few days away, we’re excited to share a new way for children to explore the natural world and learn more about the creatures that call Earth home. Independent game studio Sunbreak Games has released Care for Our World, an interactive children’s book app based on our award-winning illustrated title.
This fully animated story takes kids on a charming tour of habitats from every corner of the world, naming the many plants and animals that we share the planet with. This app also has several fun features: children can create their own custom habitats by choosing animals and backgrounds, color select pages from the book, and learn more through the Animal Encyclopedia.
We recently had the chance to talk with Jason Behr, the creative director and founder of Sunbreak Games, about how he turned Care for Our World from a picture book into an animated adventure.
Q&A with Jason Behr, Creator of the Care for Our World App
How did the Care for Our World App come about? What was your inspiration?
I discovered Care for Our World while browsing a local Seattle-area bookstore with my young son. With a positive environmental message and exceptional artwork, it became an instant family favorite read every night… so I approached Compendium about using our game development background to bring it to life on iPads.
Do you have a favorite scene from the book?
One of my personal favorites is the safari scene. I love how much movement we could bring to the page, with all the characters laughing and dancing and swinging. It’s so happy and energetic, which really captures the spirit of the book.
What is your favorite part of the app development process?
One of my favorite parts of designing an app like Care for Our World is figuring out how to make a unique experience that goes beyond the original material, and really justifies the leap to digital. In this case, it was more than just adding animation, music, and sound to the book, it was also building new coloring and playset modes that let readers create their own content.
What do you hope families learn from this app?
I hope this app helps families in the digital age reflect on their relationship to the natural world, with its loving story. But I’m particularly proud that we added a brand new encyclopedia feature that goes a step further, and gives kids the opportunity to directly learn from real-world facts, photos, and sounds.
Have your children seen the app and what was their reaction? Did you incorporate their input in the app?
My son was the inspiration for starting the project, so it only made sense that he was also my tester! He’s mesmerized by how animals react with animations and sounds, and tries to find every one on each page. I think the biggest thing I learned from working with kids like my son is that smaller children use their fingers and recognize iconography differently than adults, which led to lots of adjustments in our menus and coloring mode, for example.
What is your favorite animal?
My favorite animal in the book is the blue whale. It’s amazing to me to imagine that swimming out in our oceans right now is the biggest animal that’s ever lived on the planet, even bigger than the dinosaurs!
The Care for Our World App ($2.99) is now available for iPad at the iTunes store.