By: Carisa Kluver

The Digital Media Diet

imgres-3Explore the night with Roya and imagination… Midnight Feast is another exquisite tale from the creators of The Artifacts. Complex and hauntingly beautiful, the story follows the night-time imagination of a young teen who longs to stay up past her bedtime for what she pictures is a vast banquet. Gorgeous illustrations and beautifully paced interactive dialog create an immersive reading experience for readers ages nine and up. Polished production values, thoughtful settings and the inclusion of close reading notes round out this stellar new title.

Tapping is not so much for exploring randomly in this app but an extension of the reading experience. Your fingers absorb part of the story by unlocking it, deepening your understanding of the characters, much as your eyes and ears absorb the text and narration. In fact, the semi-animated scenes and interactive elements are so well matched to the tablet medium that the pages simply melt into one another. Not for the light of heart, this literary work is sure to draw readers, young and old, deep into the mysteries of the night. Story Synopsis – Midnight Feast Roya is a young girl, tween or young teen who fantasizes about the ‘Midnight Feast’ her parents have each night after she goes to bed. Having trouble sleeping, she pictures a vast and luxurious banquet as she listens to what it is actually her father banging open a can of pasta in the kitchen. She begs her parents the next day to let her stay up just once and they agree. Getting what she asked for compares poorly against her imagination, however.Midnight-Feast-Promo-Poster-768x1024

“This is a story for a wide variety of ages, about a girl called Roya who is excited to stay up late for a midnight feast. Themes include: drought, its impact on food security, imagination and escapism.”

Teachers With Apps had their own take on Midnight Feast, written and illustrated by Lynley Stace and Slap Happy Larry Apps. This app is epic in scope and sequence and the language used is exquisite. It was the rich language that swayed us to recommend this book after all, despite the awkwardly eerie, scary, story. It’s perfect for any teacher wanting to do a lesson on metaphors, alliteration or personification, as well as character description, theme or vocabulary. We also found the developer had provided extensive lesson plans, for each page of the book, to be used by teachers. These plans incorporated key questions and “close reading” notes. Midnight Feast would also work well for a social studies class comparing cultural differences. We tried the book out with the 8-12 year old crowd and found most kids, whether they wanted to admit it or not, were scared. The book grew on the kids we field-tested it with. After more than one read they decided that the book was scary, but the fun kind of scary…

imgres-4There is an option very cleverly placed on the dining table to adjust the scare level. It changes the intensity quite a bit by not just adjusting the illustrations and animations, but also the music. Of course most children will opt for the scary sauce so as the facilitator you need to take that into consideration. The illustrations, done by the same artist, are just as magnificent as they were in the Artifacts, read the TWA review here.

Any interactivity in Midnight Feast either moves the story forward, or it exists to create atmosphere or humour.
* Tap the screen to activate character dialogue
* Lots of rub-to-reveal scenes, to expose Roya’s imaginary alternative life
* Randomly generate strange recipes in “Dad’s Kitchen”, or movie titles in Roya’s home theatre
* Manipulate light effects

We believe young readers deserve immersive, non-commercialised reading experiences even in the digital age, so we will never advertise new products from our main menu or from within the story. A web link to our other storybook app is accessible only from the options page. Links to teaching resources (on Slap Happy Larry’s website) appear on a separate page after the conclusion of the story. Midnight Feast does not glorify or promote highly processed junk food.

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