Friday, May 24, 2013

Gro Book: The Adventures of Sophie the Sweater

Gro Book by Gro Play is a book that may bring some nostalgia to some parents. It's one of those stories where you can choose different what happens in the story at various points and see where it leads you. I not only like these stories because I think they're fun, but also because I like that it leads kids to think about plot and storytelling while experiencing a story on many levels.

Given the multiple paths of the story, I think turning these types of books digital can be advantageous and really take it to the next level, which is why I chose to review Gro Book. Price: $3.99

Device RequirementsCompatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

Developmental Appropriateness: The story is fun with a reuse, environmental theme, especially given the format. But don't expect a story that has a great moral or memorable message - it's a story that works with the format. It's fine - but I would not say that the format particularly enhances the story itself. It's a little difficult to pinpoint a target age as I think the book is appropriate for a range of ages. I'm going to put it at 7, which is on the older side because I think 6 yos can more fully take advantage of all the different paths of the story. At this age, they can remember paths they chose before, and also now also make connections between some of their choices. Don't get me wrong, a 5 yo or younger will fully enjoy this story as well. Rating: 4/5 (aim for around 6 years).

Balance: There's not too much here in terms of taking advantage of the features offered by tablets. The software of course helps the path choosing, so that you're not keeping your fingers on certain pages and flipping forward to a specific page to see what happens like back in the day. But otherwise, there's just narration and the option to turn it on and off and to take away or add the text. I'm not sure how I feel about the latter. There's certainly something to be said for just listening to a story - but maybe not in ebook format where kids have come to expect some level of interactivity. There's actually a lot of text - so with no interactivity on the pages and no words to follow, kids may get bored. The simplicity is fine, there's just not much that elevates the experience. Rating: 3/5

Sustainability: With so many paths, there's certainly re-read value here. Some of the paths repeat so don't expect a new story each time at every turn, but there's enough different paths to keep you interested at least the first few reads. Rating: 4.5/5

Parental Involvement: Nothing explicit here. It would have been nice to include some questions for parents to ask while they read or after - especially to compare and contrast the different paths. Rating: 3/5

Total: 14.5/5 = 4 stars

*I received this app for free for review purposes

Trend Alert: Check out these other great apps that let you take part in the story:

For those looking for more interactivity and a classic story in a new way: Little Red Riding Hood by Nosy Crow

For those with younger Elmo fans: Elmo the Musical -Storyteller

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