Monkeys in My Head is a very interesting interactive storybook app for iPad with a wonderfully quirky sense of style that will be a huge hit for families with an acquired taste for the offbeat.
Personally, I really enjoy this tale about the monkeys in the head of a girl who is the main character as they represent negative feelings such as self doubt or low self esteem. To deal with these monkey bullies, the girl devises a plan to rid herself of these creatures, and I admire how this story is up for interpretation as these monkeys could also be thought of as bullies in the flesh that children may encounter in school.
The look of this app is impressive, with a bleak gray and tan color scheme with few pops of color that I appreciate as something a little different that works quite well within this story, and the monkeys themselves have a level of grotesqueness that I find quite appealing without being over the top for a children’s story. A menu of pages is also included to help readers find specific moment of this story, always a nice touch.
This is not a story that all families will welcome, however, with the term “shut up” appearing on the first page, the use of “monkey pesticide” to subdue these creatures and the basic nastiness of these monkeys. Because of this, I wonder if the target age of this app is really older children who may be more prepared to enjoy this app than preschoolers or those younger, as the included animated moments bring to life the behaviors of these terrible monkeys in ways that may scare younger children.
It also gives me pause that one monkey is said to have “fat fingers” which to some, may lack sensitivity to those who may have weight issues, as this app is supposed to boost children’s confidence among the negative whispers one may hear in their heads. Therefore, using “fat” to describe these horrible beasts, as homely as they are cruel may send an unintended mixed message to the very group of impressionable children that this app is trying to reach.
Even with these issues that some may have with this app, the ending is quite moving and upbeat, redeeming itself from the dark place this app opens with.
The wonderfully styled drawings, narration and included music create a decidedly interesting and unique indie feel, making this app stand out among other storybooks found within iTunes which includes a powerful message about inner confidence that will be enjoyed very much by the right family, but this app is not for everyone.