The Land Of Me: Story Time
Gather round and make up the story as you go along…
iPad owners with children are always on the lookout for new apps that might excite and entertain their little ones. If this sounds like you then The Land of Me could be exactly what you’re looking for. As free downloads go this app will take some beating, and the concept behind it makes it perfect for engaging you as well as the kids.
The setup is simple: you enter the world of Granny Olive’s cave, an old tortoise who loves to tell a story. Three of the youngsters of the forest, Buddy Boo the bear, Willow the owl and Eric the raccoon are looking for just that, and so have gathered round to listen to her. This is where the user comes in, as you decide on who will be the hero of the story, what happens, and the type of ending you would like. Your story is then played out before you, through animations that look like chalk drawings, as if Granny Olive is drawing them as she narrates. This, coupled with the subtle piano soundtrack, makes for a very endearing atmosphere, and one that both adults and children will enjoy being part of.
Because this app is designed for kids, the functionality and indeed the interface of Land of Me have been kept very simple. There is no main menu for you to work through; when the app launches you are instantly in Granny Olive’s cave and she is asking you what you want to hear. Just tap on one of the characters to choose them as the hero of the story, and follow a similar process for choosing the rest of the key facets of your adventure. Tapping the screen at any point during the story will pause it, and that all you need to deal with.
The Land of Me places a great amount of emphasis on engagement and there are extra little touches to help keep up the immersion in the story beyond just listening to it. On the main screen you can search for a fourth character, Leonard the lizard, and there’s a clever information box that provides you with little debate starters so children will keep talking about the story they’ve just seen and heard even after it’s finished.
The chances are they will still be talking about it anyway given how enticing this app is visually. Rendered for the iPad 2 and above, Land of Me maintains a wholesome feeling with its hand-drawn graphics, but at the same time there is no escaping the impressive use of the iPad’s technology through the animated stories and point-and-touch selection options. The chalk-like etchings that make up each of the stories are very engaging, as they run smoothly and have a playful nature to them that will suit the younger users of this app down to the ground. The vocal talent in Land of Me deserves some praise too, as it really does help to bring the images to life.
It is also well worth giving the developers a nod of appreciation for the way this app has been released. Considering that there are 27 individual stories here, it would have been unsurprising to see some in-app purchases needed in order to get access to all of them. But the fact is that this app is completely free and all the content is at your fingertips from the moment you download – and it’s a fantastic amount of content to get for nothing.
Just a few minutes with this app are enough to see why it was nominated for a BAFTA, and you might never hear the end of it from your own youngsters once they’ve seen it.
The Land of Me is the blueprint for the future of storytelling on iPad.
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