App Review: Nursery Rhymes with StoryTime
The Nursery Rhymes with StoryTime app is an interactive ebook app from ustwo for iPad. The look of it is gorgeous. The illustrations are reminiscent of 19th century woodcuts, vividly colored. Each nursery rhyme (there are 8 of them) is presented in two “pages” and each page has at least one interactive element. The text is incorporated as part of the illustration, and some of the text moves or reacts along with the images on each page. The narration can be turned on or off, and the reader is a British woman with a pleasant voice.
The interactive elements are fun but don’t add much, if anything, to the comprehension of the rhymes. There’s some wit and ingenuity to the design in some rhymes, e.g. Humpty Dumpty cracks open and the King’s horses and men spill out; but in others, like the Grand Old Duke, it feels a bit more random. The humor is a little bizarre, with a tinge of the macabre. The sound effects when Jack and Jill tumble down the hill or get smacked with fish from the well (yes, you read that right) sound like an old kung fu movie, and after you cut the tails off the three blind mice with your carving knife guillotine, you can send the severed tails careening around the screen, or reattach them and cut them off again. Of course, this is my 3-year-old son’s favorite part of the ebook. He thinks it’s hilarious.
Overall, though, it seems that he’s already getting a little bored with it. The interactive elements are quickly mastered and there’s not much else to discover. After playing with it a short time I noticed he was already skipping some pages and even his favorites didn’t hold his attention long. At $3.99 it doesn’t break the bank, but as great as it looks I doubt we’ll get hours and hours of entertainment from this one.
Review by Genesis Hansen
update 5/7/2012: I just wanted to update this review and report that in spite of my early impression, my son has gotten much more entertainment from this app than I originally anticipated. He doesn’t often spend a lot of time with it in one sitting, but has used it enough to have memorized several of the nursery rhymes.