Nearly There by Johanna Connor and Gabrielle Byrne- Review
Nearly There is an iPad only book from Johanna Connor and Gabrielle Byrne. It was originally published as a print book and was brought to the app store by Thirsty Work. The stars of the book are two horses- Budley and Bishop.
The book opens with a picture of Budley and Bishop and their friends walking through the countryside to the accompaniment of a lively song “On the Road to Nearly There”. It is well worth listening to the song, as well as being a very catchy tune it also serves as an introduction to the story. The story is an interesting mix- it is told as a series of beautiful watercolor paintings accompanied by small comic-book style mini watercolors that provide the dialog, there are also boxes labelled “something you should know” which provide background information about the various characters. You can read the story by yourself or touch the text to hear it spoken. The main text is highlighted by the phrase, and for the dialog each part is spoken individually as you touch it, each animal having their own distinctive voices. There is light animation and great sound effects that really set the scene .
Budley is “a big horse, a kind horse, a dopey lazy horse” and Bishop is “a lady horse, a fine horse and fast of course”, they live together on a farm where they work hard all summer and during the winter they are left outside and forgotten with barely enough to eat. On one cold miserable winters day they are outside during a big thunderstorm, and they decide they’ve had enough and set off in search of a better life. Their friend Gohome, the farm dog, has been frightened by the storm and runs off, so they meet him on the road and he decides to join them. As they travel they meet a variety of unhappy creatures who join them, first is Feathers a chicken whose feathers have all fallen out and has stopped laying eggs. Baroness is a painted horse who has been bought and sold so many times she has forgotten how to belong, Priceless “just another pig” who is really skinny as she is worried if she eats she’ll end up on the dinner table and her companion Wahh is very frightened cat. Secret is a donkey whose owner died long ago, and is so neglected that her hooves have overgrown to the point where she can’t walk and ivy is growing over her. The motley crew also finds a sack full of kittens someone has thrown in the sea to drown. Budley and Bishop stop and rescue each of these animals and they join the ragtag band as they traipse along the road to “Nearly There”.
In a sad moment Secret decides his time has come and he lays down to die, but he is happy as he is surrounded by friends. Just before he passes away he tells his friends they are “Nearly There”. They realise they are – it is a lovely forest and a great place for a group of friends to make a new home away from those who mistreat them and they start a new life in freedom.
As well as the story the app also contains a bunch of extras – coloring pages, a photo album of the real Budley and Bishop, and a map that shows you the route the friends took that also doubles as a page navigation guide. It contains no adverts, in-app purchases, app store links or social media links.
At heart this is a tale of friendship, but also tackles some tougher subjects such as animal cruelty and death in a sensitive manner. The illustrations are beautifully done, though there are times when it would be nice to see them as a double page spread as they were in the original book. The narration is very well done and all the animals have their own distinctive voices. Overall, a beautifully illustrated tale of friendship that handles some tough subjects in a sensitive manner. It is really brought to life by the catchy song, sound effects and professional narration. The inclusion of the photo album of the real Budley and Bishop is a nice touch. Well worth downloading.
Nearly Thereby FirstyWork
Requirements: Compatible with iPad WiFi, iPad 3G, iPad 2 WiFI, iPad 2 3G, iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G, iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini, iPadMini4G
Size: 103.63 MB
Screenshots for iPad(Click to enlarge)
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