Little Lamb in Amsterdam, by Joshua and Donna Wilson, is two stories in one: a simple story of a little lamb on her cycling adventures, and a fact book full of historical, geographical and cultural information about the Netherlands. Little Lamb has an adventurous spirit and sets off on a cycling tour of the Netherlands, finishing in Amsterdam. Along the way she sees different things including windmills, tulips and wild flowers, canals, clogs and more.
Each page is filled with a colourful, interactive illustration and a line or two of text telling the story. Tap the bottom of the screen to show extra information. Find out about the different things windmills grind when little Lamb cycles past them. If you ever wondered why the Netherlands teams wear orange, you will find that fact on the page where Little Lamb celebrates their National day. Extra information is sometimes revealed In the animations; we are treated to some works of Dutch masters such as Vermeer, Van Gogh and Rembrandt when Little Lamb visits the Museums and Galleries, and see boats passing under bridges on the canals. Sometimes Little Lamb is hidden, and finding her becomes a fun hide and seek activity.
On one or two occasions there are subtle hints to adults through the images and animations of a more, um, “mature” side to Amsterdam (such as meeting Mary outside the coffee shop and being treated to a 60’s style hazy animation) but I am confident children will miss the connection.
- Narration – available in both English and Dutch for both the story and the facts. The narration is clear and well-paced. I can only vouch for the English versions, but the developers have found native Dutch speakers to do the translations and narrations, so I’m sure these will be up to the high standard of the rest of the app.
- Illustrations – I love the colourful mixed media style of Donna Wilson. Areas in most illustrations have been kept “uncluttered” so that the text can be displayed, and we had no problems reading the text where it was displayed over patterns. Traditional Dutch colours, images and patterns are included in some of the collage-style illustrations.
- Interactive elements – the few interactive elements on each page don’t detract from the story and often support the text by adding meaning.
- Maps and Historical information – The title page has links to some maps and a historical timeline.
A sweet and entertaining story on its own, Little Lamb in Amsterdam has extra value with the factual information. It would be a great way of introducing this country to children. I hope the authors bring out similar books looking at other parts of the world.