Little Polar Bear, by Hans de Beer (out now, Free) is a children’s animated book that also offers three games. The free version of this universal app comes with five pages of animated story scenes and a game. Through IAPs, you may unlock the full book and remaining two games. A total of 20 interactive scenes are available in the complete book.

LittlePolarBear2The entire app contains beautiful illustrations, and children will be entertained not only with the story of little Lars the polar bear, but also the interactive animations. Through simple tapping or swiping kids can make items in the scenes move, from falling snow and icebergs to the polar bears themselves. All this comes with various sound effects. In addition, the app offers optional text highlighting and voice narration that will help kids learn to read.

Since Little Polar Bear is essentially a book, the included games are fairly basic, but they are well suited to young children. While the first (free) game features the polar bear running on land, the second has him flying with an eagle, and the third, swimming in the sea. All three games involve catching fish, and all it takes to make the polar bear jump or dive for his fish is a simple tap. Though the games are structured similarly to endless runners, you’ll have to pass from one level to the next by fulfilling a specified goal: catching an increasing number of fish. Like in an endless runner, if the polar bear “dies”, you’ll have to start the level all over again. Other than the increasing fish goals, the game levels don’t exactly get progressively challenging, so it could feel repetitive after a while. But for young kids, this could be exactly what they need to have fun.

iFanzine Verdict: Little Polar Bear offers double value, being a book and game rolled into one universal app. Since it’s free to try, there’s little reason not to download this before deciding whether or not to unlock the full contents. The gorgeous illustrations and animations, whether in the book or games, should appeal well to younger kids.