Developer: Niño Studio
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPad 3

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Storytelling/Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Intuitiveness Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Love, the app is based on the book Love, a storybook by Gian Berto Vanni and first published in 1964, about a very dark time in a young girl’s life. She is nine years old when she is abandoned by her parents and is sent to live in an orphanage. There she receives little encouragement or kindness as she is unattractive and has issues with acting out. This story is told in few words yet in striking yet sometimes minimal illustrations and colorful pages full of paper art, including a unique use of paper-cuts and peep holes within these pages.

12This story is now nicely translated to the iPad, and includes mild interactions that re-create the look and feel of the storybook with added moving elements I found quite interesting. The adaptation of Love also allows for music to accompany this story, and for the most part I find the selections to be quite thoughtful and elegant with a moody tone that supports the narrative. A moment of children’s ambient sounds was a little on the nose however, heard in correlation to the page of this book when the orphanage is first introduced, taking me out of the moment for a beat or two.

The story that unfolds in Love will stay with readers for a long time. Without narration, this is a tale that needs to be read by the reader, which I typically note as an area of possible improvement but I don’t think that the few words per page would benefit from a listening option as I really enjoyed exploring this app on my own – taking in these words displayed on the pages sometimes incorporating an interesting use of design. It is worth noting that this book about a girl looking for love is filled with sadness that I greatly appreciate, but I would hesitate to show this book to my very sensitive son or others like him as some ideas or imagery created here would make him sad, if not scare him – moments that I nevertheless found memorable if not moving, yet unlikely to be well-received by all children. I appreciate that this app allows those like me who have never read this title to now be exposed to this storybook that presumably would have been considered experimental in 1964.

34To be honest, I do wish that the poetic ending of this book was really the middle of this tale as both my husband and I, having been absorbed by this story and its characters, wanted to see how the end scene and the story as a whole played out. I suppose that by holding a bound book in one’s hand, it is obvious that the end is near as the pages left to be read become fewer and here the resolution is well-realized, but as an app readers are unaware of the scope of the story they are reading. From this perspective I was hoping that this engaging tale would continue as I am left wondering what ultimately happened to this child who received such a raw deal in life.

Love the app is an interesting title that I do recommend to families who will be fond of the dark tone of this book as well as adults who appreciate something a little different. I am grateful to have been exposed to Love as both story and images, both which I still often think about. Please be aware that this app also contains areas dedicated to The Author of the book, as well as the story behind the making of this application, which I have also appreciated reading.


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