I Need My Monster is an interactive storybook app based on the children’s book of the same name, now also including a few extras such as a memory-styled matching game and a “Simon” styled mini-game.
I know this title well, as I Need My Monster is a story that is often read out loud at our local library’s story time, and when borrowing this book, the pages are worn from being enjoyed by many children.
This is the story of a boy who instead of being afraid of monsters, desperately needs one - a really scary one - to be able to sleep. Unfortunately, his monster takes some time off, leaving the boy to find a new monster under his bed that will do the job. New monsters come and go, never filling the shoes of the original, scary creature under the boy’s bed.
This is a faithful adaptation of this popular story, with the same text as well as included illustrations altered somewhat to fit the iPad, also containing mild animation and hot spots.
Narration is included, yet I am not completely sold on the woman who provides the narration, as this is a tale told in the first person, from the point-of-view of the main character who is a boy. Because of this, I wish a child voice actor were included, as I can think of a few times a child was used in a storybook application to a great effect.
I do like how a male actor sometimes provides the voice for some of these monsters, yet I did not understand the choice of having the monster character “Ralph,” a dapper, well-groomed monster, voiced by a woman with a presumably British-like accent. Instead, I would have preferred a male, more genteel-sounding voice reminiscent of Kelsey Grammer or David Hyde Pierce because the voice included does not relate in any way to the character created, which to me distracting.
Some very effect interactive moments are included that work quite well within this story, especially a scene with a monster scraping her nails across the screen - a moment new to the story not found in the printed book.
Also nicely included is the ability to add the reader's name to this app as within the printed copy, the sign “Ethan’s Room” which can be seen on the bedroom wall, can now include any name. There are a few hot spots within this app, however, that I thought were not necessary, such as being able to tap some objects in the boy’s room, making sounds that drown out the narration.
Even with these notes, this is a terrific story that differs so wonderfully from the traditional fears children have of creatures under their beds. It is worth noting that here, the boy professes that boy monsters are for boys, and girl monsters are for girls - a moment that for me is cringeworthy yet rings true in the way children at this age may think. This detail aside, this is still a creative story with vivid illustrations.