Ability to control the story, multiple stories in one, nostalgic feel to the app
What we’d love to see…
Text highlighting as it is read, page turn button, ability to change settings without returning to home page.
Max & Meredith: The Search for Percival is a fun “choose your own adventure” book with multiple story lines and endings. It encourages readers to think about different ways to solve problems and challenges stereotypes as the children discover that not everyone or everything is how they expect, and that first impressions can be deceiving.
Max & Meredith: The Search for Percival is the first interactive book app from indie developer Move On Pluto. It is a “choose your own adventure” book where the reader makes decisions throughout the book, which affect the characters actions and what happens next. Music, sound effects, narration and text can be switched on or off via settings. Parents can choose to have interactive hotspots unlocked throughout the app, just in final storyline scenes, or no distractions. There is no word highlighting as the story is read.
Max lives in the town of Everdale, where one morning he awakes to find his trusty dog Percival is missing. Max rushes next door to enlist the help of his friend Meredith to find Percival. The story follows Max and Meredith’s search for Percival, but the duo have different ideas on the best way to find him. Max is more logical and cautious, whilst Meredith has an active imagination and likes to follow her hunches. The reader gets involved in the story by deciding what the duo should do next when Max and Meredith disagree.
Depending on what decisions the reader makes the story goes in different directions. In total there are 8 different possible endings. When the reader reaches the end of the story they are shown a map illustrating how the different decisions create different story lines and endings, and are encouraged to read it again for a different story experience.
The story is an old-fashioned adventure- the dynamic duo aim to solve a mystery, and to do so they have to work together to decide what to do. Meredith believes that an ogre lives near by in Gloomy Gulch and thinks he is responsible for Percival’s disappearance, so the friends have to decide whether or not they will face up to their fears and search Gloomy Gulch. What happens in the story depends on the choices the reader makes, so it really is multiple stories in one. Making different choices introduces new characters and situations, and creates totally different endings, which gives it lots of replay value. All the different story lines work well together, and there are no “right” or “wrong” choices, just different choices. By reading the story multiple times and making different decisions, the reader can find out more about Everdale and the characters who live there.
The book app has a nostalgic feel about it, the illustrations and story lines feel like they would be at home in a “Little Golden Book.” Although the app has some interactive elements (about one per page) the main interactivity is in choosing the where the storyline will go. The multiple story lines add a fun element and increase the replay value of the app. Depending on which storyline is chosen Max and Meredith may have to face some potentially scary situations, but they find out that first impressions are not always correct, and that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover.
There are a few technical changes I would like to see in future updates. I would like to see the addition of word highlighting as it is read. Page turning currently via swiping, I’d like to have an option to use a page turn button instead. Swiping does give the feel of turning the pages of a book, but I find that some children, especially those with special needs, can find this difficult. The settings can only be accessed from the home page and although you can return to this at any time, doing so loses your place in the story, so I’d like to see setting accessible from every page.
Max & Meredith: The Search for Percival is a fun “choose your own adventure” book with multiple story lines and endings. It encourages readers to think about different ways to solve problems and challenges stereotypes as the children discover that not everyone or everything is how they expect, and that first impressions can be deceiving. The developer recommends Max & Meredith for ages 2-7, I think that slightly older children will also enjoy it and my 9 year-old gave it a thumbs up.
A great app for children to learn responsibilities and independence as they keep coming back to the app for more Advenchores and collectible cards to play.
‘Chores’ need not be a dirty word if we teach our children that everyone in the family has a role in maintaining the household and that their contributions are very important to keep the family happy. This makes them feel valued and more willing to do their part. We will also need a fair system of assigning chores and a proper system of recording if we want to see success.
Here is where Chortopia Chore App (free now) by Aurasync Studios, Inc. can help both parents and children work together harmoniously to get the daily chores done. To begin using the app, parents need to set up an account and select age-appropriate chores for each child (up to 4 accounts permitted). Tasks are color-coded and grouped into 3 categories – behavior (say please and thank you, help sibling, finish homework), outdoor (help wash car, help with garbage cans) and indoor-based (dust furniture, put clothes away). There is also a compilation of favorite or frequently used tasks for your convenience. What is useful is that you can add your own tasks to the app! Just remember to be clear in your instructions or expectations. When you have selected a chore set of 3 tasks, an Advenchore is created in the land of Chortopia. You can prepare up to 4 chore sets at any one time.
When you first hand over the app to your children, they will be introduced to the world of Chortopia and their role in helping to free a group of very important Chortopians (the Speakers). They need to complete a series of Advenchores to journey deep into the lands of Chortopia in order to save Chortopia. There are 4 parts to the Chortopia story (Secret of the Mystical Boxes) and Book 1: Mysterious Harvest is included in the app. Each book comes with 10 Advenchores that kids can unlock by doing chores.
Each Advenchore presents a problem for kids to overcome and they will need sufficient Chore Power to fix the problems. This power can only be earned from doing tasks (chores) specified in the app (remember that these tasks were chosen by you). Your kids simply tap on the tasks that they have finished, and have the work verified and approved by you before they can use the Chore Power. Tasks that are not done are sent back.
Getting the job done not only earn the players Chore Power to finish their Advenchores, they can also use the power to unlock mystical boxes to free Chortopians. Each freed Chortopian comes with a collectible character card that describes the Chortopian’s special power and power level. There are also bonus Legendary Chortopians to collect. Kids will like to spend time admiring their card collection or use them to play games like Card Scuffle in the app.
With separate accounts and each child being responsible for keeping track of their own work, maintaining the system is so much easier as parents just have to validate completed work in the app. It is simple to assign duties and kids get their rewards automatically in the app. There are no chores charts to maintain and kids are motivated to complete their duties (less nagging). Our only investment is to purchase the subsequent parts of the story for more Advenchores.
I think kids will like Chortopia as it has the components that can hold the interest of kids of today’s generation – adventure stories, card collectibles and card games. As the story is illustrated and fully narrated, children at early elementary level or younger will have no difficulty in following the storyline. I used the app with my youngest and he was more cooperative than usual! This has definitely taken off some of my stress and I do hope that we can sustain this success…
Chortopia is a great app for teaching responsibilities and independence. Children can start with daily routine activities and then learn the more difficult tasks. They will learn many life skills that are more important than having a clean home. Download the app today while it is free and enjoy 10 sessions of fun Advenchores!
beautiful illustrations, music and fun story which encourages kids to use their imaginations as well as the tale of friendship
What we’d love to see…
ability to turn off the sound with the exception of the narration, collection spot for the stars and items that have been found through the story
My son hopes that there will be more Snot & Fluff adventures to see them journey through the galaxy now that they are back together. He can’t wait to see what additional imaginative adventures that the two come up with on their journey!
Snot & Fluff by Onhnostudio is a whimsical space themed adventure story where Spot dreams of journey’s and Fluff is a cook testing new recipes. The two are good friends and Snot decides to go on a space adventure to see if he can learn more about the galaxy who catches a comet with a lasso and gets ready for his adventure! Unfortunately, Snot forgot to leave Fluff a note, and set off on his journey. Fluff begins to get worried when he sees Snot fly away without his friend on the comet and he gets very sad about thoughts of losing his friend. Fluff begins to tidy the cottage and decides to put together a space rocket to find Fluff – but he does improvise a bit while building it using his culinary creations including sticky custard to put the pieces together. The app is designed for preschool through early elementary school and is gender neutral and appealed to both boys and girls when I tested it with them. You can also page through and skip pages in the book to move to your favorite portion of the story.
I love the beautiful illustrations of the book as well as the interactive elements and music on each page. Some of the pages have mini puzzles like performing a series of tasks or collecting hidden stars (there are 88) to unlock a hidden page at the end of the book! I also loved the imagination that was used throughout the story like using sticky custard to put together the space ship which was both smart and a great way to improvise to get the space ship put together. My son also liked the hands that turned the pages. Snot also goes on a mission to find a missing key for the pirates and after accomplishing the mission begins to miss his friend Fluff and his great desserts. The book has a theme of friendship as Snot and Fluff try to reunite. The book is narrated and you can repeat the audio by tapping on the page after it is completed. I also loved all the plays on words like “King Jelly”, “Broccoli Bandits”. Snot heads to the Candinext planet to rescue his friend Fluff and the two are reunited! Fluff is there making sweets and is very happy to see his friend. Fluff tries to fix the kings missing horn – a task many have failed at and been put into jail using one of his confectionery creations which is successful!
In terms of improvements, my son asked for a counter or somewhere to keep his stars that he collected as well as the items that Snot lost including the pipe organ. I would like a way to turn off the sounds/narration if a child didn’t want to hear them and wanted to simply focus on the text, currently I turned down my device but that meant that my son couldn’t hear the story.
There are external links including to the app store, but they are protected with a parental gate. The story is available to be read and narrated in English, Polish, Russian, Chinese, and Spanish.
My son hopes that there will be more Snot & Fluff adventures to see them journey through the galaxy now that they are back together. He’s currently busy drawing his own intergalactic adventure and wants to know the secret of the Broccoli Bandits! This is a fun and imaginative book that encourages kids to touch and solve puzzles throughout the story and reunites the two friends Snot & Fluff.
Readers learning together with Nolan on how to make monsters go away.
What we’d love to see…
Words highlighted in sync with the narration.
A great storybook to share with your children if you want to start a dialogue with them about their fears.
Is your young one having a hard time going to bed every night because he/she is afraid of the dark or just being alone in bed? Or perhaps he/she is being kept awake by nightmares and scary monsters lurking in the shadows.
Childhood fears are real for our kids and it is easy for us adults to ignore them just because they don’t really exist, but this doesn’t help our kids at all.
On the other hand, we can take these age appropriate fears seriously, tell our kids that it’s ok to talk about their fears and teach them how to face their fears confidently and courageously instead.
Pillow Mountain by Van Winkle Studio LLC offers us the perfect opportunity to do just that. It is a simple and enjoyable rhyming storybook about Nolan’s dangerous journey through the mountain in his dream, where he encounters frightening monsters and how he conquers his fears to get back to the safety of his bed. I especially like the part of the story where Nolan realizes the true form of the monsters when he turns to face them instead of running away from them.
The story is well designed for the preschool age group. The length of the story is just right. Animations are minimal and there are fun little interactive spots on each page. The narration and soundtrack together make Nolan’s adventure exciting yet scary at the same time, which is meant to engage the young readers to relate their own experiences. The dreamlike world is also ideal for kids who do not like cutesy or childish illustrations. What the app needs is an option for young readers to start the story again at the end instead of using the page menu.
Pillow Mountain is a great storybook to share with your children if you want a ready opportunity to discuss about their fears, whatever they may be. Most kids outgrow their childhood fears but we can make the process a lot easier with our reassurance. Check out the free Web Book version and a video on the interactive book app version of Pillow Mountain below.
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