Developer: Haunted House
Price: $1.99 Download on the App Store
The Bird & The Snail — Knock Knock is a new interactive storybook app released by Haunted House Publishing. The story of a bird and a snail who thoughtlessly gobble up an apple, which turns out to be a little worm’s home, is depicted through charming hand-drawn charcoal images that become animated throughout the story. As most children’s tales do, The Bird & The Snail reveals a tidy little moral, in this case one of consideration and friendship.
There are several things about The Bird & The Snail — Knock Knock that make it more than just a storybook app. The three viewing modes, which include a tap and scroll mode, watch mode, and paint mode, provide added depth to the overall story concept and definitely help broaden the age range for which the app is appropriate. The story itself is written in a rhyming scheme and can be read by the viewer in tap mode or simply listened to in the narrated watch mode. The paint mode reveals typical “paint” style coloring pages featuring images of the story’s characters.
By combining three different modes, the value of The Bird & The Snail is definitely increased, but maybe not enough to warrant the full asking price of five bucks. The watch mode alone could prove fairly valuable to parents with young children when presented with a situation where quiet entertainment is necessary in a pinch. As the story is read, the characters display a few quaint animated actions and sounds and the story progresses with no need to do anything but watch and listen. Conversely, in tap mode, viewers must read the story page by page on their own and can tap on the characters to animate them before swiping to the next page.
As an added value, the paint mode does provide a fairly realistic rendering of paper and watercolor paints. There are a total of 40 different charcoal images and the included options within paint mode, such as different brush strokes and line placement show that some thought went into its design. I especially like the ability to remove the provided image all together and freely paint on a blank canvas. While paint mode is surely a nice feature, the navigation is a bit too complex. Older children and adults can easily ascertain how to apply the various options by reading the “help” tutorial, but younger children may have a bit of difficulty as the provided icons are obscure. However, if parents apply the settings first, children can easily shake the phone to switch to new pages to color. I also found a small draw back in the amount of pressure needed to get a response, which would not encumber an adult, but might frustrate smaller fingers.
Overall, I found The Bird & The Snail to be a charming enough story with features that can be appreciated by iPhone/iPod touch users with younger children.
Here is a video preview of The Bird & The Snail - Knock Knock from YouTube: