I love classical children’s literature, and I also appreciate the wonders of technology. I can enjoy both in Fun Educational Apps’ newest Top Pick, Pinocchio- Interactive Kid’s Storybook. This is an enchanting storybook app, created byAnlock and MINOAS Editions. It has been expertly adapted from the original story written byCarlo Collodi in the late 1800s. Who doesn’t fondly remember this sweet, yet sad story of the little puppet who just wants to be a boy?
In any classical tale, the reader must be willing to believe that magical things can happen: a block of wood can become a talking puppet, a puppet can be turned into a donkey, a man can survive a trip into a whale’s mouth, and a puppet can even become a boy. This adventure unfolds in pages that have been illustrated so beautifully by Katerina Chadoulou. Each one is richly designed and contains interactive elements and animations relevant to the story. There are two options, Listen/Read to Me and Read it Myself, to accommodate different levels. I had a nine year old read it to me without difficulty. In the Read to Me option, the text is highlighted as it is read. That makes it much easier for a beginning reader to follow along. With a simple finger touch, each page turns to reveal the next event. The story is told in a total of 18 pages, long enough for a complete re-telling, but short enough to keep a younger reader’s attention.
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The narration in Pinocchio is handled expertly by Julie Prew, who is able to convey meaning using her inflection, pacing, and pauses in subtle ways. I also like how the tone of the story is reflected, not only in the words, but also in the sights and sounds: crickets chirping in the woods, music playing at the puppet show, and the fire crackling in Gepetto’s shop.
Ms. Chadoulou knows how to elevate the setting into an important story element. Her drawings incorporate light to symbolize the goodness of the fairy that helps Pinocchio, and darkness to symbolize the evil Mr. Candlewick luring Pinocchio to the scary Land of Toys. She also creates shadows around the edges of each page, giving them a depth and dimension similar to what you might find in a beautifully illustrated picture book. Added value is discovered when the pictures come alive! Children will love watching Pinocchio’s nose grow right before their eyes. My review helper watched his nose grow and shrink (and grow and shrink and grow and shrink) many times before reluctantly turning the page. She also liked it when the shifty man’s mustache curled and uncurled. All of the elements in Pinocchio work together to produce a literary experience sure to delight children of all ages.
For all these reasons, this is definitely a Top Pick for us at Fun Educational Apps. It is the first in a series of storybook apps to be released in 2013 by Anlock. Judging by the quality of Pinocchio, I will be eagerly anticipating their future titles.
Pinocchio- Interactive Kid’s Storybook. is available for download via the iTunes App Store - iPad and iPad Mini App
Julie P. - I am a speech/language pathologist (SLP) currently working in a school setting, serving children with special needs ages 6-14. My iPad has become my favorite therapy tool. I am passionate about my work and my students, and I am excited about the possibilities for using technology in education.