Mr. Glue Stories presents a visual feast in app-form and is an especially unique and polished digital reading experience for kids 4 and up. It features a choose-your-own adventure style storybook, with choices for the young reader throughout each of four separate stories, all included in-app. This title is also illustrated lavishly in an edgy cartoon-style and is full of great options like recordable narration and coloring pages. You can even add personalized touches like the child's name and gender.
Mr. Glue Stories has a talented team with author Amelia Thorne and illustrator Jose Fragoso. Their kid-pleasing storybooks are worthy of an earlier era in publishing. All four would make lovely printed titles, and that's just one of the many options for your personalized story creation ... to read it again as a one-of-a-kind physical book. Ordering instructions and pricing (roughly 18 pounds) are within the app, shippable to most English speaking countries. The stories, it should also be noted, feature British English spellings and phrases.
A variety of story themes and reading levels are listed, each including one title per theme (at time of review), for a total of four personalized book options. The reading levels are Easy, Medium or Hard, aimed at the age range of 4-10 years old with 30-45 pages each. The titles of the four books inside the app (with reading level) are: Pirates Before Breakfast (Easy), The Great Race (Medium), A Journey to the Stars (Hard), and Christmas Rescue (Easy). There is no built-in narration, but recording options are on each page, with easy-to-use settings that give families the flexibility to read-aloud even when they can't be close to home.
At different junctures (marked with a pair of binoculars) during each storybook the reader is asked to choose plot twists and which characters are presented, like getting to choose your own enemy or reward. This gives the narrative a big hook for young readers and listeners, in addition to creating a seemingly endless supply of story variations. The only downside is a lack of a page guide or story-tree to allow readers to come back to a specific page or just see the way the book is constructed.
In addition to personalizable narration, creative options on every page also include the ability to paint and draw throughout the story's illustrations and text, a feature my child enjoyed by drawing christmas presents under the tree in "Christmas Rescue". Many illustrations are black & white, making this series double as a digital coloring book. While this story collection is not really animated, it includes several high-quality sound effects that can be tapped within the text. This light interactivity is perfect for engaging without distracting young readers too much from the storyline, making these books flexible for classroom use.
Overall this is a stellar new offering in the app store, featuring nicely crafted stories, delightful illustrations with well-produced technical features. The welcoming "Mr. Glue" is sure to set any youngster on a reading adventure for the iPad. More stories are expected to follow, as the developer has offered to publish reader stories and "give unpublished authors a platform" for their own work (see website for details at: https://mrgluestories.com/post-a-story-join-us/). We look forward to seeing more in the future!
This app has been thoroughly evaluated by our staff. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how it fared in all nine of our rating categories. See synopsis tab for more details about the storyline.
Note to readers: This review was expedited by the developer for a fee. The content of the rating/review is the same, but timing of publication has been prioritized.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Amelia Thorne/Jose Fragoso
Chadlington ABC Enterprises Ltd
60 - 90 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 4 - 10 +
Mr Glue stories is an interactive story-telling app. It is a collection of original stories that we will build up over time. Each story can be personalised, and different elements added as you go along. You can add drawings and colour to the illustrations that are already there. You can record the story and add sound effects and music. You can email your creation to a friend or a member of family, for them to look and listen to.
Mr Glue is the leader of a lively cast of characters who appear in each story. Their evil cackles and signature tunes help to bring tales to life. Mr Glue Stories provides an activity that is good alone, or as a group. The youngest readers can get stuck in with help, older readers without. And why limit it to children? Travelling parent or faraway grandparent? Set up and read a bedtime story to a child or grandchild a long way away. Learn English as a foreign language. The options are endless!