Saturday, December 10, 2011

Harold and the Purple Crayon book app - wonderful celebration of imagination (ages 2 - 6)

One of my favorite books as a young child was Harold and the Purple Crayon. I can't actually remember reading it, but whenever I read it now the feelings and memories flood back to me. The wonder as Harold draws his world, whatever he wants to see. My amazement at when his hand shook and water appeared behind him. And my delight when he was so clever that he realized he could draw his own window around the moon. I was so happy to see that the new iPad/iPod book app remains true to the original story, but brings it to life in a new way. It's a real joy, one that I highly recommend for young children.

Harold and the Purple Crayon
by Crocket Johnson
developed by Trilogy Studios
for the iPhone, iPod, iPad
version 1.4 - December 6, 2011
current price: $6.99
ages 2 - 6
available from the iTunes app store

nominated for the Cybils Book App award

Features: Touch Tale * Read to Me * Read Alone * Tutorial
Harold is a little boy who decides one night to climb out his window for an adventure. He isn't sure where he should go, but he decides to create his own adventure - drawing it each step of the way with his purple crayon. It's a wonderful celebration of children's imagination.

The book app "Touch Tale" incorporates wonderfully paced narration with just the right amount of interactive features. Children are invited to draw along with Harold, tracing over gray lines that become bold purple when the child draws them. But you also can discover hidden treasures, like swiping over the empty sky to reveal twinkling stars. When Harold gets to the city, the careful reader will notice that there is a cat hiding in one of the windows which you can tap on to zoom in to see.

Harold's journey is animated, but in a way that stays very true to the simplicity of the original story. You follow Harold through his imaginary world, seeing the dragon roar or the ship sailing. But most of the details of this world are still left to the child's imagination.

The pacing and narration fit the story perfectly for a young audience. The app "chunks" the original picture book pages, so that only one line appears at a time on the screen. This helps children see the words at a nice, slow pace and large enough to see clearly. If you tap on different items in Harold's world, the word labels will pop up - helping children develop an awareness of printed words. But best of all is the soothing voice of the narrator - perfect for a bedtime story.

This is a joy to read, and drew me to it time and again. It's a perfect example of a book app staying true to so many qualities of the original book, but making it accessible to a young child in a new way. I am looking forward to reading Harold at the North Pole (released 11/29/11).

For other reviews, check out:
Psst, don't tell - but I'll be getting this for my niece and nephew, along with the print book. I think they will enjoy the app, and also enjoy reading the print book. It will be interesting to see if the app stimulates interest in the book, or if they shun the book in preference for the app.

The review copy came from our home iTunes library collection.

©2011 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books.

1 comment:

  1. Fun! The Harold stories are some of my daughter's favorites. I bet she'll love the app now too! Thanks for sharing.