Stunningly beautiful, magical, and filled with the wonders of imagination, Digimoo Studios has accomplished what few others can achieve in an audio-visual storybook. Storm and Skye – magical adventure story for kids has the feel of a high production movie, all contained within a narrated picture book format. The app is constructed into a chapter book. The nine chapters allow for natural pauses and facilitate time for processing, interaction or questions between an adult and child. The pairing of music and storytelling sets the imagination soaring by adding an increased depth and dimension, and helps kids learn the rhythm, cadence and emotional intent of the spoken word. The illustrations are superb and help build a bridge to identifying the meaning of the information read to them. There are a few interactive features to the picture book, largely at the end of each chapter. I find this refreshing in that the goal is the story, and that kids are focused on doing one thing at a time – and that is for their eyes and ears to work together without unnecessary clutter or distractions. And that is a foundation for building attention and the ability to process direction.
The story centers around the main character “Storm” who happens to ride through an old and mysterious car wash with his mother. Inside, he begins to see and experience strange sights and sounds all around him. Once home, he is determined to find out more and takes off on his bike to go back to the car wash to investigate. Finding a kindred spirit in “Skye”, someone Storm had thought he’d seen earlier, the two venture off together through the deep dark depths of the car wash. Both their courage and fortitude are challenged as they meet a magical dragon, see a knight on horseback, and discover a portal through the red door at the back of the carwash. The two soon become fast friends and brave through an adventure in a new world. They begin to learn and appreciate each other, and model both friendship and teamwork. There are many themes running through the story, and it is a great one for studying affect, emotions, and lifestyle choices as well as problem solving strategies. The chapter format allows for reflection and time for kids to share their own experiences. Each chapter runs approximately five minutes, for over 45 minutes of story time. My only wish is that there was some kind of marking at the beginning and end of each chapter, perhaps something written in the corner to identify it. I feel this would give kids a sense of continuity of time and duration. By doing so, it teaches students to break down tasks into manageable “chunks” which then promotes confidence and one’s own sense of accomplishment – “I have three more chapters!”
The developers suggest running the story with headphones, but I would first listen and share the story with a child. Then once comprehension is understood to gradually fade the visual prompts and just listen to the app in preparation for future demands and classroom expectations; or visa-versa, by turning the sound off, you could work on memory by practicing the retelling of the story. Headphones could be later introduced for free app play or in a reading nook. I love that the language of the story is not simplified, but exposes kids to a rich vocabulary and dialect that perfectly synchs with the illustrations and music.
In summary, this is a beautifully written, narrated, and illustrated app for preschoolers and early elementary students. There are numerous opportunities to learn and explore its content regarding emotions, lifestyles, and choices. The story has an epic feel and quality to it, and I look forward to future stories from Digimoo Studios.
About the Author
Jo Booth has been an Occupational Therapist for over 30 years, and currently works in Pediatrics with early intervention. She sees kids newly diagnosed on the spectrum as well as medically fragile kids. She loves to move, explore and play everyday; so that “her kids” grow up to be healthy independent learners.