This bilingual app from the Philippines gets high marks for graphics and presentation, but minor navigational glitches and bland storytelling keep it from soaring.
Maya is getting ready for bed and asks her Nanay how she can wake up early the next day. What ensues is an endearing conversation between the two in which Nanay offers solutions and Maya replies to each one with, “But that won’t wake me up!” As the story progresses, Nanay’s tactics become more severe, progressing from whispering in Maya’s ear to pulling the sun through the girl’s bedroom window. This app has an unusual aesthetic and a unique technological approach. The characters, props and backgrounds function like a floating 3-D felt board, with a distinctive paper-doll feel. And while the animation and interaction aren’t necessarily mechanically or technologically impressive, they’re soothing. Navigation isn’t linear; sometimes scenes progress horizontally left to right, but there are some switchbacks and vertical page turns, which may confuse readers initially but helps to contribute to the gently meandering feel of the conversation. Swiping to turn the page doesn’t work if readers are touching an object or character, and there’s no index or way to get back home without either finishing the story or rebooting the app. The narrator enunciates and reads well, but her delivery is a bit dry, at least in English.
A good storybook app that could be great with a few tweaks. (iPad storybook app. 2-6)