Remember playing the telephone game when we were kids? That one where you’d sit in a circle and whisper a phrase all the way around, and by the end it was nothing like the original secret? Well, now that game has had a makeover, hit the iPad, got an extra shot of coolness from Rhys Darby, and it’s great.

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Have You Heard? is the debut release from Yoozoo books, a kids’ app company from New Zealand–thus, the connection to Rhys Darby from Flight of the Conchords, who serves as narrator.  In fact, I’m willing to listen to this app over and over just to hear the accent.

The ebook cleverly teaches the importance of listening and telling the truth, but your preschoolers will just think it’s a funny story of Telephone. Peko the bird tells a story about Farmer Jack to one animal, who tells it to another, who tells it to another, right until it gets back to Jack–at which point it’s completely wrong and utterly outrageous. As with any game of Telephone, kids will love screaming, “No! That’s not right!” as the characters go along on their misadventure.

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While you can just read it or have it read to you, there are also great interactive features in “Play Mode” that make it more fun. And it really can be as educational as you make it, with the app suggesting that readers “look out for kiwi-isms, befuddlements, homonyms, synonyms and cinnamon.”

No in-app purchases, no pop-up ads, no sharing/sending. Just a good story with really delightful graphics.

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Plus at the end, there’s a memory game about who said what throughout the story. And it’s a lot harder than I thought it would be! I guess I wasn’t listening as well as I should have. –Kate

Have You Heard? from Yoozoo books is available for iOS devices for $2.59.

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