We recently interviewed the developer of this app, Katrin Draemann Barothy of JustKidsApps, you can read that here. It explains the background to this incredible app, from the original thoughts, to the design and production and finally to sales and marketing. It offers a great insight into app development.
Following our interview we were so enthralled we couldn’t wait to begin our review. This is the second in the abridged series of Spyri’s classic novel Heidi by e-book developer JustKidsApps, the story moves from the Swiss Alps to Frankfurt where the heroine must stay with a wealthy family and as a companion to Klara, a 12-year-old wheel-chair bound girl, but becomes homesick.
Like the first book, the sequel adopts the same intriguing formula of clear on-screen text, interactive characters and useful narration option (in either English or German) to aid either young readers (from 4 or thereabouts) or those who are older but struggling.
Although the writing style used is accessible and appropriate for the age-group, use of the narration option will enable younger readers to get the most from the story.
That’s not just for the pronunciation of some of the character’s names but also for continuation of text that accompany’s each page of illustrations. If you’re unfamiliar with the layout you might overlook it but this is an e-book, so it’s nicely interactive.
There are sound effects for readers to enjoy, from the ‘meowing’ of kittens through to door chimes, ‘tick-tocking’ of wall-clocks and, at times, even supplemental conversations. But these aren’t overdone and distract in anyway. And, you can take the narration at your pace, it stops after the two pages of text, and only resumes after you ‘turn the page’.
In all, there are 29 pages each with a high quality illustration while the special effects and narration have all been recorded professionally, but it seems a little unconventional to split the story into three parts. In any event, it doesn’t really detract and may even be used to a parent’s advantage, if a child is somewhat reluctant when it comes to reading stories. Part III and the last in series will be available in September 2011.
To conclude, this is a classic story, narrated, edited and illustrated in the most beautiful way. This book brings joy to whoever has the pleasure of owning it.
Both the iPhone and iPad versions of this app available at a discounted price of 99c and $1.99 respectively. These prices are set to increase after 30 June 2011 to $1.99 for the iPhone version and $3.99 for the iPad version.