iPhone App Review: Belle’s Art Museum Adventure

iPhone App Review: Belle’s Art Museum Adventure

April 3rd, 2011 by

One of the greatest things about the iOS platform and the App Store in particular is the ability of authors everywhere to not just directly market their books to consumers, but to also add interactive elements in order to draw the reader into the story. For children’s books in particular this gives children’s authors everywhere the ability to “publish” their works and have a chance to have them bought and read by children and parents everywhere, without needing to get the attention of a dead-tree publishing house.

Belle’s Art Museum Adventure is a fun, original story with interactive elements about a girl that gets sidetracked by an unusual occurrence while viewing art at her local museum. You or your child can read the story yourself, or have the story read itself to you, as you follow along with Belle and find interactive features throughout the museum.

How It Works

The app loads to a simple startup screen which gives you the option to read yourself or have the story read to you. A female’s voice will read the story if you choose that option; she has a clear, distinct, and pleasant voice that reads at a good speed for following along.

One each page are paintbrush icons for going forward or backward through the “book”, and there is also a somewhat hidden interactive element in each screen. The interactivity is sometimes a sound, sometimes an animation, or even the movement of characters across the screen.

Pros And Cons

The story is a fun one that leads the reader through the art museum, and includes some educational content about the various artworks presented. The reading voice is engaging and pleasant, though I found the text itself in the app to be pretty small. The interactive elements are fun to find the first time through, though I felt the story could actually use more, as well as more meaningful, interactivity. Greater interactive involvement could be integrated with more educational elements to make this enjoyable story a true art museum experience.

Overall

On the whole this is a great story that my own son enjoyed very much when I read it to him, and even as I wrote this review he picked up my iPhone to take himself through it again. There are some educational features in the story that I think could be expanded upon, but all in all it’s a fun, well-told story that would be a good choice even if it was simply printed onto dead trees and bound into a non-interactive storybook. If you’re looking for a new children’s book that costs less than printed volumes and offers more, not to mention takes up less space on the bookshelf, then you can’t go wrong with Belle’s Art Museum Adventure.

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