Our Overall rating: 4.25
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Oh, What a Tangle!

December 10, 2012

By: Emilie Davis


Bottom Line: A cute e-book with a winning title and just enough interactivity to keep your little bookworm coming back for repeat performances.

Oh, What a Tangle! is a new interactive e-book from UK developer Digital Leaf and writer Anita Pouroulis. It's the story of Kiki, who has hair that flows "like a waterfall of chocolate milk" – until she develops a small tangle. That small tangle grows until Kiki's hair quite literally takes on a life of its own.

The illustrations by Monika Filipina Trzpil are beautifully imaginative – muted colors and quirky lines make for great facial expressions, and although I won't give away the solution to Kiki's tangle, I can tell you that Trzpil's imagining of an angry mom is inspired.

The interactions are pretty muted, too, which I prefer – my daughter stayed interested in the story instead of madly tapping the screen looking for bells and whistles. The music, like the illustrations, is soft and rather soothing – my daughter spent quite some time exploring this app, and I found it created a nice soundtrack while I sorted laundry.

If you're like me and you think a British accent classes up pretty much anything, you'll enjoy the narration, which can be heard in a woman's voice, a girl's voice, or not at all. My daughter, who isn't quite reading on her own yet, likes the idea of the iPad "reading her a story." Older kids might prefer to turn off the voice and read at their own pace.

My daughter managed to find the twenty hidden hairbrushes throughout the story, which allowed her to unlock a bonus game, which turned out to be a fairly ho-hum jigsaw puzzle of an illustration from the story. The app can be reset so that little readers can find the hairbrushes all over again, or so new readers can enjoy the game. Digital Leaf's last e-book featured this same bonus game – I hope they'll consider moving on to something new in their next outing.

Some technical issues I'd like to see fixed in order to make this a truly top-notch app:

  • As Heather mentioned in her review of Digital Leaf's My Monster Mayhem, the story ends on an unavoidable "share" screen, which connects the user to Facebook, Twitter, email, the developer's website, and the App Store. As the mom of a five-year-old, I'm not crazy about this. I don't want to find my kid wandering around on Facebook just because I left her alone with the iPad for ten minutes.
  • The navigation is a bit wonky – on every page, I had to click the "next page" arrow twice to actually make the page turn, and even then I had to make a pit stop on a blank white "loading" page before it would take me to the next page of the story. My daughter's solution to this was just to tap the arrow like a crazy person until a page appeared. I'm guessing that isn't what the developers had in mind. 
  • As we've mentioned in previous reviews of Digital Leaf products, a page index would help, too – the first time through, I didn't find all the hidden hairbrushes, and I found that going back to hunt for them was a bit cumbersome.
  • Although the story is narrated, the screen directions are not. This was enough to keep my daughter from using the app completely independently. The developer might want to consider making the screen directions audible for younger users.

One last thing: I'm new to Smart Apps for Kids, and you don't know me yet, so I'm reluctant to reveal my inner nerd this early in our relationship. But you might as well know this about me now: I am a Grammar Nazi. So even though I like this app, and I like that my daughter has been through the story several times now without becoming bored, I have a difficult time letting her play with it. Why? Well, there is a grammatical error on the screen that unlocks the bonus game. Yes, I know my daughter can't really read yet. That's not the point. The point is that "Your a natural" is not something you want in your product if you want it to be taken seriously. The rest of the app is really good, so I hope they fix this one mistake so as not to lose the entire nerd population in one fell swoop or get a bunch of angry one star iTunes ratings.

Even with the technical glitches, this e-book is a great addition to your child's library, and may even teach a lesson or two about the importance of things like brushing your hair. My daughter gives it two thumbs up, and I give it four stars.


This guest review was originally published by SmartAppsforKids.com on November 29, 2012

The author of this review, Emilie Davis is a mom, writer, and expert untangler of Barbie hair. She and her inner nerd are pleased to make your acquaintance. SmartAppsforKids is one of the top review sites for kids educational apps, games and books. They strive for meticulousness and honesty in their reviews, both positive and negative. Their goal is to be the most complete source for parents and educators looking for reliable info on an app before making a purchase. 


All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.


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Oh, What a Tangle!

December 10, 2012

By: Carisa Kluver

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Anita Pouroulis/Monika filipina Trzpil

Digital Leaf Ltd.

Length (time):
8 - 12 Minutes

Based on non-digital book: Yes

Allows Own Narration:

Uses Motion: No

Age: 4 - 8

English •

Length (pages):
20 Pages


Story Synopsis - Oh, What a Tangle!

From iTunes:
Oh, What a Tangle! tells the story of Kiki, an artistic, little girl who’d rather do anything other than brush her hair. There are simply so many other better things to do. Left un-brushed, Kiki’s hair develops a tiny, tangled knot. But rather than wish it gone, Kiki nurtures that knot until it becomes something grand, something worthy of an incredible story. Filled with interactivity and gentle animations, Oh, What a Tangle! is a fun tale for curious and adventure-loving little girls everywhere – the ones who’d rather have a good time than always behave like the perfect princesses! 


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Orientation: Landscape

Format: Universal


Read Story, Play Game, Narration On/Off, Narrator Adult/Child, Home, Links to: AppStore, Web, Email, Twitter Facebook

App Release Date:


Size: 153.15 MB

Version: 1.0

Lite Version Available: No



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