A little boy helps his community remember that music is of extreme importance.
In this installment of its Living Stories series, German gaming giant Ravensburger Digital establishes itself as a credible player in the storybook-app world. All things considered, they’ve covered most of their bases in terms of what goes into a respectable digital reading experience. The illustrations are interesting and appealing enough, and navigation is reliable and incredibly well-designed. A drop-down scroll menu offers a page index, interactive clues and the ability to turn each screen into a puzzle. The story itself is decent, though it could be a tad less reductionist. Symphonia is a land of song until a cruel judge bans music to boost productivity. As a result, a culturewide depression ensues until a little boy wanders through the streets playing his violin. Musicians appear, the judge and his Big Brother–like guards conveniently leave, and music prevails. There are several outstanding interactive features here, most notably a nighttime star scene in which readers can fill out a melody loop with full chords. Another screen offers a delightful opportunity to add or subtract various musical, vocal and percussive tracks to create a personalized “orchestral” experience. Text and narration are available in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish.
The value of art comes through loud and clear in this enjoyable, interactive musical tale. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)