One of my favourite books as a child was a Little Golden Book about the adventures of a young orphan girl that was sent to live with her grandfather in the Swiss Alps. To my delight, the heartwarming story of Heidi, originally written by Johanna Spyri in 1880 has now been brought into the 21st century and retold in digital format through the new 3-in-1 Heidi Story Collection for iPad recently released by Katrin Draemann Barothy of JustKidsApps and rewritten by Deanne Shoyer. In the series, the reader journeys alongside Heidi as she is sent by her Aunt to live with her paternal Grandfather on a mountain in the Swiss Alps until her Aunt returns to takes her away to Frankfurt to be a companion to a young girl named Klara who is in a wheelchair and watched over by a strict Governess who believes Heidi is not good enough to be a proper companion to Klara. While in Frankfurt, Heidi makes a good friend in Klara and also learns how to read but she becomes terribly homesick and decides to return to the mountains. Heidi starts school and receives a visit from Klara over the Summer which ends in a wonderful surprise!
The home screen features a scene from the story accompanied by gentle background noises of birds tweeting and wind blowing which can be heard throughout the story and conjures up a sense of the idyllic mountain living. From the home screen you can select the language you would like the story in and then which of the three stories you’d like to hear – Heidi on the Alp, Heidi in Frankfurt and Heidi and Klara. The story features original illustrations of picturesque scenes and a cast of colourful characters designed by US-based artist, Diana Kizlaukas and offers two different options for reading the story. One version, for younger readers, is written and narrated from Heidi’s perspective with the text highlighted as she reads and the other is a little longer and written in third person without the highlighting to appeal to older readers.
The writing and narration is available in three languages – English, Swiss and Swiss-German. The narration can be paused at any time using the stop/play buttons at the bottom right. There aren’t any confusing settings, no in-app purchases, outbound links or advertisements to detract from the rich content. Returning to the options screen for the story you’ve chosen is as simple as tapping the home button at the bottom right. To return to the home screen or to choose another language or story, tap ‘Story Selection’ or ‘Change Language’ button. Accompanying each story is a ‘Bits and Bobs’ section which includes fun activities, interesting facts and information about Switzerland and more.
I loved being able to read this charming classic with my own children and introducing them to a time gone by. I was however bombarded by questions throughout the story about things unfamiliar to them such as Heidi’s hay bed, Grandfather whittling wood and Peter herding the goats with no shoes on (my lot are an observant bunch!). A word of warning though, the stories are quite long and kids in the younger age bracket may become disinterested after a while but to keep their attention there is subtle interactivity with the characters and scenery built into each page. Being a long story, the ability to bookmark your location to return to at a later time would be a great feature. The price is rather steep but is justified because you’re actually receiving three quality apps in one. To buy the three individual apps for the full story would work out more expensive. I highly recommend this beautifully presented app whether you are familiar with the story of Heidi or not as it portrays a lovely message and will hopefully be enjoyed by many generations to come in its new modern adaptation.
Heidi story collection - 3 in 1by JustKidsApps - Katrin Draemann Barothy
Category: Books, Education
Requirements: Compatible with iPadThirdGen, iPad 2 WiFI, iPad 3G, iPadMini4G, iPadMini, iPadThirdGen4G, iPadFourthGen4G, iPad 2 3G, iPadFourthGen, iPad WiFi
Size: 382.72 MB
Screenshots for iPad(Click to enlarge)
NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.