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Peekaboo Forest

Charley Harper's imaginative illustrations come to life in an app designed for kids

by Tamara Warren in Tech on 23 December 2010

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A new app for kids, Peekaboo Forest, brings the storybook quality of illustrator Charley Harper to the small screen. Constructed around the passing of seasons, the narrative features animals emerging from the bush and hiding in the dark of night, delighting toddlers with its roster of real animal sounds and interactive technology. Children can control the animal motion—a weasel's tail wag, or a bee buzzing among blooming wildflowers—with a light tap.

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The story moves at the patient pace of a small child with silent interludes between the action of moving animals. Words, imagery and sound interconnect through repetition, adding an educational component to the purely entertaining aspects of the forest. You can switch the audio track between a sweet childlike voice to the more articulate tone of an adult in both English and Spanish with more languages coming in February 2011.

The Peekaboo Forest recreates the imaginative imagery of Harper who was raised on a farm in West Virginia before studying at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, where he used minimal realism in paintings and illustrations depicting animals in their natural habitats.

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Created by Night & Day Studios, the app—available for the iPhone and the Android—continues their series, which began with Peekaboo Barn and was followed by Peekaboo Wild. A fourth application called Peekaboo Fridge, currently in production, will feature the artwork of Richard Scarry, and another called "Tree of Life" and also featuring Charley Harper's imagery is also in the works. Peekaboo Forest sells for $2 from iTunes.

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