Tilly Witch is a storybook app for iPad, adapted from the classic story by Don Freeman
I am familiar with Don Freeman because the “Corduroy” books were favorites of mine - books that I now read to my own son as well. Because of this, I was excited to read another of his stories, a title I was unfamiliar with until now.
Although Tilly Witch was not a story I knew of when I was a girl, it is a classic book, first published in 1969, is a childhood favorite of others, and from what I can tell, is now out of print.
Fans of this Halloween story, about Tilly the witch, whose happy mood gets in the way of her duties of scaring children on Halloween, will be thrilled to now add this app to their digital library.
Very good narration is included, as is the chance to read this book to oneself as well as making one’s own recording. The original illustrations from this book, distinct and interesting, really pop on the backlit screen of the iPad with vivid colors such as yellow, purple or blue.
One can also make their own recording of this book, as well as include extra text to these pages, a feature one may be unlikely to use in this app, as the storytelling of Don Freeman is the main draw to this application.
It is worth noting that Tilly is sent back to witch school to re-gain her desire to scare, where she is forced to wear a dunce cap which enrages her, and it is this rage that she channels as she becomes “cured” of her good mood, now ready to scare children.
I take no issue with adults who grew up loving this book, and I know that my decisions about what to expose my son to, specifically stories about witches eating children or locking them in cages, would seem like odd choices to some. Having said this, I really don’t have any interest in explaining to my boy, now in pre-k, what a dunce cap is, as I don’t want him worrying about public shaming in school in any fashion.
Although this is an issue for me and possibly for other families as well, the quality of this app is quite high. I appreciate the clear speaking style of the narrator as well as the highlighted text, and there are also some nice moments with the memorable visual of this witch flying through the air on a surf board.
The style of writing is complex enough for older pre-school and kindergarten children to enjoy as well as for those beginning to read on their own, as these words can also be taped to be heard, even when reading this storybook to themselves. A menu of pages is also available - always a nice touch.
Fans of this book or possibly of Don Freeman will enjoy this app a great deal. Other families should take note of the use of the "dunce cap" and decide for themselves if this story is for their families.