The Voyages of Aladdin and Sinbad by BelMontis Publishers is an iPad only app featuring two characters Aladdin and Sinbad in a storybook for young readers (ages 6 – 11) with three translations in English, Spanish and Chinese. The story is about a magic lamp and how Aladdin and Sinbad are going to search for a magic lamp. The story pages are on parchment with a red background with pen and ink drawings and each page features an interactive element that engages the reader into the story. The words are highlighted as the are read and turn a slightly different color after they are read which makes them show up more clearly on the page. There is an option to have the words translated and they appear at the bottom of the page. There are choices that the reader can make which help direct the story and engage them further as well as exploring the app via a map. As each island visit is completed, the map is highlighted to show you where you had been on your adventures – and each time you open the app you can explore a different place. Each of the islands features an interactive element either a riddle, a book given or something else to help Aladdin on his journey to find the magic lamp. While Aladdin is away on his journey, the city has fallen into poverty and the story continues even after the lamp is found! After completing the journey you are invited to choose another island to explore and the story continues.
The app features:
- interactive story elements
- ability to choose your destination based on a map and learning about new places including Bubble Kingdom, Kingdom of Dreams, Upside Down Kingdom,The Mirror Door, The White Dome, Hose Shoe Island, Soo-Ven-Ir and many more
- narration in English, Spanish and Chinese
- beautiful pen and ink illustrations and hand drawn pages
- narration to hear the story
- original music throughout
I loved the illustrations and interactive elements on each page and this app kept my son engaged as he read the story with me and subsequently by himself. He enjoyed tapping on the treasure map and exploring each of the different paths the story could take to read it. I also liked the different areas that could be tapped on to learn more especially the fish bubble that contained an underwater kingdom. He enjoyed touching the screen and exploring inside the bubble and spent quite a bit of time studying the image. My son enjoyed hearing the story of the lamp, especially in the underwater kingdom as well as the gift that was given by the Sultan.
In terms of improvements, the font is problematic. It varies in color and style and can be difficult at times to read on the screen until it is read aloud. I would also like the option to have the translation read aloud – perhaps there is a way to have the words in English on the page, and then also read them in the translation. Currently, the translation is at the bottom of the page and requires you to “scroll” with your finger in order to read it, it’s smaller than the read aloud font on the screens.
This app provides engagement for kids, over and over again as they explore the paths that can be read. My son has opened and explored the app new fewer than six times to look at each of the islands and adventures. The narration and pen and ink drawings as well as the adventure portion draw kids in – even younger emerging readers and encourage them to engage and understand the story. With the beautiful illustrations, children can imagine what is said on the pages and tap on the interactive elements to move forward. It is best for children who are reading in some form and those who enjoy exploring on each page. There are no external links or in-app purchases.
The Voyages of Aladdin and Sinbad
by BelMontis Publishers Pte. Ltd.
Price: $3.99 USD
*** Teachers with Apps: "Belmontis has a knack for continuing the tradition of a GREAT storytelling! Not to mention that the art alone is spectacular..."
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.