Apolline & Leon Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on August 3rd, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Apolline & Leon is a lovely and fun interactive universal storybook app that kids and adults will enjoy. This app includes an impressive nine languages, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Chinese and Japanese, making this an excellent app for bilingual families or for those who may want to expose their children to the sounds of a different language. One can listen to narration or choose not to, and I like that a summary of pages is also included - always a nice addition.

This first episode, The Witch Of Tuileries, is about two children with vivid imaginations who believe that an old woman they see at the park is really a witch, following her home to investigate further. My son and I really enjoy this story, a mystery of sorts, a genre that is new to my son. It was interesting to me to see my son’s reaction to this story as he listened to the excellent narration intently. The room got very quiet as he witnessed a boy leaving with this old lady, having crossed the street to her house. As a parent, I am glad that this rang an alarm bell in his head as something that may be potentially dangerous. Luckily this story ends well, and I could see relief come to my son's face as the ending unfolded.

I like the use of interactions here as there is a nice moment when the old woman forgets a box, and the children have fantasies about what could be inside, complete with some fun things to touch and investigate. Once the box is opened and music sheets are found inside, the reader has an opportunity to touch the notes found on these sheets, hearing a new instrument per page turned for a very nice effect. Other, varied interactions are offered here as well, do search for them. I like how when the old woman is escorting a child to her home, one must tap the cross-walk button, an interaction that one may need to be pointed out to children. We had a lot of fun looking through the woman's key hole of her apartment as well, among other interactions.

The illustrations are very nice here, as are the interactions and music used throughout. The narration is of a very high quality, and although I am not one to judge the narration of the other languages, these developers take pride in using professional actors for the narration - something I find worthwhile, to say the least.

Adults will enjoy the imaginations of these children, looking at the world from their point of view. There are a few potential teachable moments here as well, as these kids unkindly assume the worst from this woman because she is old. Also, there are issues about their own personal safety and boundaries because following a stranger home is not really a good idea and could have ended very differently. For now, my son and I have just enjoyed this book for fun. I look forward to the next episode of Apolline and Leon in the future.

iPhone Screenshots

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iPad Screenshots

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