Dubbed an approduction by its developers, Penelope is the first work based on the manuscripts and music of transmedia author Cornelius Addison. The app has been constructed in Berlin with the involvement of master animators, illustrators, musicians and programmers. Wivern Creator, Director Jerome Goerke believes Penelope to be a groundbreaking development in the field of digital storytelling for older children, in that the music, animation and interactivity has been choreographed by the writer and not just 'added on'.
"The animated and musical elements in Penelope can be regarded as plot developments, humorous asides or interludes in the story," Goerke says. "The two Enlivened Rhymes in Penelope, for example, enable the reader to hear the songs sung by the characters in the story while giving them a glimpse into the character's imagination as they sing. We do this by starting with a black and white page illustration that comes to life with music and animation. It is Tolkien's idea digitalized."
The music from the Enlivened Rhymes is already available on iTunes in the form of a digital EP. An in-app purchase complete with sound effects is also available for those who prefer to listen to the author read his work.
"A lot of work went into getting the audio version of the story just right to ensure readers have an exceptional experience in every part of the app," Goerke says.
Wivern also recently announced that work has commenced on their next approduction, Harry the Huntsman, for readers aged 7-9.
"Our long term goal is to conjure up a bit of digital magic for every age group, so that the very young can look forward to longer and more complex stories as they grow older," Goerke says. "Our aim at the moment is to create titles for kids where there is a stronger focus on plot, with the animated elements acting more as digital literary hooks to keep the reader surprised and engaged rather than distracting them from the storyline."
The Penelope trailer and download is viewable our site listed below. Teachers can access the sheet music by signing up to the fan site where students can also have their own characters uploaded for peer review by other children around the world. In saving the best for last - Penelope will be free to download this weekend in the iTunes App Store!
Penelope 1.0.32 is normally $4.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide through the App Store in the Books category. It will be free to download this weekend.