Even with all their toys, my kids have always been fascinated by the no-frills blue-and-green globe they can spin around and look at countries with hard-to-say names like Azerbaijan.

So you can imagine how neat they are finding a brand new iPad app that allows them to walk their fingers across the globe and gather up bits of trivia about our world in a way that they could never do before.

With their first-ever iPad app, Barefoot Books has created something special with the Barefoot World Atlas iPad app. Like an interactive geographic encyclopedia, there is something here for kids of just about any age.

The main image reminds me a bit of Google Earth, but in this case, there are teeny tiny little illustrations on this globe from David Dean (who also illustrated the paper version of the book), and some of them are moving. Zoom in and see a little Roald Amundsen waving from Antarctica, or a dromedary camel walking across Mauritania in North Africa. With each illustration, you can choose to read accompanying text yourself or have it read aloud by author Nick Crane in his proper British accent.

Within minutes my kids had figured out how to zoom in and out as they zipped past Russia on their way to South America. The background music adjusts depending on the country you are nearest–a nice touch which helps illustrate the level of detail that went into making this app.

Which is to say: Wow. There is a lot here to discover.

Though it isn’t an ebook in the regular sense, each picture or flag pulls up a text box with information or even photographs and 3-D rotation photos. The real time is even shown for each country which my kids find absolutely fascinating (You mean it’s tomorrow in Japan?).

I imagine that my kids will revisit this app many times, especially when they are doing a report on a country or just need to see a picture of the Mongolian flag. But, they also love exploring all those parts of the world that seem so far away.

No, this isn’t an inexpensive app, but there is so much information included, I think it’s a got plenty to keep kids coming back again and again to learn about their world which is not something I can say about another round of Plants vs. Zombies.

The new Barefoot World Atlas app for the iPad is now available on iTunes.

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