Even Monsters Get Sick

Even Monsters Get Sick

Will we get sick to the back teeth of yet another interactive kids book?

The increasingly ubiquitous interactive storybook genre is becoming ever more competitive on the app store, as existing children’s titles with the odd bit of crude animation start to make way for slick, high-quality, multimedia experiences with production values to rival the Cartoon Network.

Even Monsters Get Sick falls into the latter category, and offers young readers a bespoke 24-page tale from writer/illustrator Michael Bruza that channels a heavy dose of Sesame Street-style charm into telling the tale of a young boy and his monster while the titular premise unfolds.

Each lovingly rendered page offers a significant degree of touchscreen interaction, whether counting out the correct number of items, route-finding around a rudimentary maze or simply seeing how objects and characters interact in the context of a given scene.

The story is written from the point of view of the boy, hence a potentially grating young audio narration; it’s optional though, so certainly not an issue. Even Monsters Get Sick is everything a children’s book should be: fun, colourful, imaginative and with a subtle lesson at its core. As an app it ticks all the right boxes too, delivering a polished interactive audio/visual experience that’s so engaging you might even forget it’s a book. A near-perfect combination of form and function. If this is the future of children’s literature, physical books will need to up their game.

Rated 4 out of 5

More entertaining than educational, and moderately priced to boot. A brilliant example of storytelling on iOS.

Screenshots


  • TITLE=MAKE ME MUSIC – GREAT FUN FOR YOUNG KIDS;RATING=5;Stylishly rendered Garage Band for beginners that lets kids express their inner Mozart or Madonna while learning about rhythm and melody in a bright, beautiful sound garden. Make Me Music, is a loud, raucous cacophony of ringing, honking, strumming and banging instruments brought to life by legendary Beatles´ artist Alan Aldridge and the creative folks at FeeFiFoFun.com. The app is very user-friendly with little or no instruction needed. The home screen has a big play button in the centre surrounded by a few instruments including some with hands and feet. Pushing play takes you directly to the music room. It’s anchored by a winding red pipe covered in garlands of flowers that laugh or make funny noises when touched. A question mark in the top left corner brings up basic directions which let parents know that the four flowers across the bottom of the screen control rhythms and the arrows in the bottom right corner let you change the melody from a Caribbean vibe ukulele to a jazzy trumpet. When the melody is changed, the background in the room changes colour as well which gives pre-schoolers a subtle hint to perhaps change the tempo of their composition. All the kid-created symphonies and concertos can be recorded by activating the microphone symbol on the bottom left. Kids get a 3, 2, 1 countdown before recording begins. Compositions can be saved by emailing them to yourself or friends. They are converted to a mp4 format, so once downloaded, tunes can be made into ringtones or used as background music for home movies or whatever creative pursuit calls for maximum banging and clanging. Music is the great equalizer because you are never too young, too old or too disabled to participate in it. The recordings my kids and I made with Make Me Music were not as pretty as the app’s band room, but we had a lot of fun. Private music lessons or even the yuppie filled music classes I took my kids to are expensive and a luxury many families (and increasingly schools) can no longer afford. If the research is to be believed, this $1.99 app which follows the Orff method is a good investment in your child’s academic future. Regardless of your stance on the importance of music education, Make Me Music is a welcome departure from the plethora of preschool apps and games currently available. Recommended for 3+ ios. http://tinyurl.com/makememusic