Into the Snow: A Stella and Sam Adventure is a lovely interactive storybook for iPad, part of a series of apps developed by zinc Roe. Both English as well as French languages are included.
This is a simple and sweet story about a relatable sibling pair, Stella and Sam, as they venture out into the snow to go onto a toboggan ride. Based on the popular series of books and later a television show, this app consists of short video scenes as well as interactive sections that allow children to become part of this story.
The video clips included have a great look and sense of style, bright and colorful with charming watercolor details, and it is nice how the interactive scenes fit seamlessly together within this story.
The first interactive activity includes children using sticks, acorns and other found materials to create shapes and pictures, such as a sailboat or butterflies.
To complete each puzzle, drag the objects to their correct locations, seen as a subtle gray outline of the item one is creating. Distance ambient sounds like the wind blowing or birds chirping as well as the sound of a chime being played each time an object is moved can be heard, adding richness to the experience.
Not only are these puzzles fun and interactive, but I appreciate how Stella creates a motif around each puzzle once created, also showing as a faint gray drawing in the snow, demonstrating what one can do with one's imagination, as the stick man turns into a soccer player or as the additional details are added to the sailboat which are also made from sticks. They then include an ocean full of waves and a “show shark” that moves with the tap of a finger as well as birds seen in the distance. I really enjoy the basic style of art used in these snow drawings, childlike and reminiscent of the illustrations found in Harold and the Purple Crayon.
Another interactive section includes the building of a snowman. To choose a detail or accessory like a hat, nose, or arm, tap on one of the two choices found left or right of the snowman. Doing so will have these chosen items added directly to the snowman - a nice activity for toddlers.
The other interactive section deals with objects hidden under the snow. Players use a finger to brush the snow away to uncover the hidden treasures once lost.
Each of these sections can be replayed with a different puzzle, snowman or hidden object activity as well - an especially nice touch, as is the menu that aids players in finding a favorite moment or interactive page of this storybook.
I enjoy how within these sections, cute commentary can be heard by these children, such as Sam exclaiming that he likes sailboats or wondering what could be under the snow about to be brushed off, such as possibly an elephant or polar bear. Do tap around the pages as well. Doing so will trigger some cute interactions in each of these interactive sections.
This is an app that my son and I really enjoy, as we do the entire series. This application is especially nice on days too cold to go outside ourselves. I recommend Into the Snow as I do the other Stella and Sam Adventure apps, as these storybooks always include Stella and Sam venturing out into nature, exploring their world and partaking of activities that require no plugging in of any kind, as well demonstrating a love between brother and sister that parents will smile at.
I am also happy to report that although I did not know a lot about Stella and Sam, we now take out these books by Marie-Louise Gay from the library often, enjoying them very much, and I appreciate how these characters translate so well to these videos and interactive scenes.
There are four apps within this series, but also please know that one can purchase this series together as one app, Stella and Sam Story Pack, for a great price.