Harold and the Purple Crayon is a wondrous and thoughtful adaptation of the classic 1955 children’s book of the same name that had been developed into an interactive storybook, now a universal application.
I remember Harold and the Purple Crayon from my childhood and have shared this story with my son as well. Few children’s books that I can think of beg to be turned into an interactive storybook as much as this one does, and I have been eagerly waiting for this to be developed into a universal app, knowing that at some point this was bound to happen.
I am very eager to introduce this app to readers who may not know of its existence. It is the perfect experience that I expected with every element thoughtfully conceived, making this book a joy to share with my son.
For those who do not know, this story is about a boy named Harold, who, armed with a magic crayon and a vivid imagination, draws objects to interact with that come to life. This book, by Crockett Johnson, is lovingly stylized as these pages are bare except for a simple black and white image of Harold and the vivid purple lines, objects and creatures drawn with Harold’s crayon. Few other books capture the creativity of a child so well while also encouraging the reader to use one’s imagination.
I am really impressed with the choices made in term of developing this universal application for devices. Three sections exist - an area where one can interact within this story, the ability to read this book without interactions with wonderful narration as well as being able to read this book to oneself.
A tutorial is also included which is excellent as it is geared directly towards the young readers themselves, explaining how this interactions works. It is great how one helps Harold draw, using a finger to trace over a faint gray outline and it is nice that scribbling over this area fills in this drawing as well - great for the youngest app users.
I love that this section explains not only how to re-create the drawing found in this classic book, but with the interactions new to this format as well, as some moments now contain the movements once only found in the imaginations of children reading this classic book, such as the movement of a boat on choppy waters, apples falling off a tree or the wind blowing. I love the inclusion of a question mark that one can tap for hints, showing users all the interactions found on each page and how to work them - something I wish all developers would add to their interactive apps.
The images used here are wonderful representations of the drawings found throughout this book, with a few new details added as well, adding more interactive areas to be found within this app, such as cactuses and other flora that can be tapped, birds flying in the sky as well as my favorite - added images of window details found in large buildings that Harold draws as he is looking for his way back home. Stars have also been added to the sky for Harold to find, and do tap on objects as they may become labeled with a word as well, adding to the educational nature of this book. My son loves all that there is to explore here, especially feeding Harold nine kinds of pie, then feeding a friendly moose and porcupine that Harold draws in order to finish the food he is too full to eat.
The narration used here is superb, that being of an older woman telling this story, hitting all the right notes with a perfect radio voice, being utterly understandable, warm and sincere. This narration runs throughout the interactive section as well as the narration-only area of this book - a good choice for kids tired and ready for bed without anything too stimulating. Of course, it is always nice to have a chance to read this book to one’s child as well. Once can also personalize this book for their child - a nice touch, as is the fact that the black text of this app is highlighted purple when read by the included narration.
Of note is also the music used here - very enjoyable to listen to, adding a great deal to the overall experience of this application.
I am very impressed with the transformation of this traditional children’s book into an application, as every element used is pitch-perfect and utterly charming. I look forward to see what new Trilogy Titles the future has in store, as this one is a new family favorite.