Hildegard Sings is an exceptional adaptation of a print title, enhancing an otherwise well-written and engaging children's book in ways that add to the story without losing a thing in the digital translation. The interactive enhancements are thoughtful and tied nicely to the storyline, adding to both the reader's enjoyment and reading comprehension. Even the audio is pitch perfect, offering high quality music, narration and sound effects.
Thomas Wharton published Hildegard Sings in 1991. This out of print title comes to life on the iPad, with interactive animations on every page. You can feed Hildegard, move the curtain up & down, help deliver the surprise to the stage and even open the box with contents that help restore Hildegard's voice. The animation is seamless and paired with interactivity that is varied and well-suited to the plot and delightful original illustrations.
As a digital offering, this title is also very well-made with ample settings. There are even hints to help guide the reader to the interactive elements. There are also a couple extras with the book that are nicely made. A cute matching game is included as well as set of theatre posters featuring Hildegard's most famous roles in the future. An 'opera glossary' is listed in the app as 'coming soon'. Even the 'epilogue' about Hildegard becoming a star is a nice touch. The only thing I would add would be to have the text highlight as narrated.
Overall, this is a top notch digital kids book. It is also a great example of enhancements that are tailored perfectly to an existing story. One Hundred Robots has made this title come alive in a way that is so charming I can't wait to see what they will be up to next. My highest recommendation!
[An iPhone version of this app is available separately through iTunes - Click HERE.]
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
One Hundred Robots
12 - 18 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: Yes
Age: 5 - 9
Hildegard Rhineheffer is a singer (and a rhino). She loves singing and eating. During the day she is a singing waitress in an Italian restaurant and at night she is on stage in the chorus of an opera. Hildegard has always wanted to be a star so she practices a lot and tries to take good care of her voice. Yet, one day where her chance to star in an opera comes things don't go quite as planned while she is getting ready. Something is wrong with her voice!
When she opens her mouth to sing terrible sounds come out, nothing like the beautiful voice she usually has. What can she do to fix it? Her manager & agent try to think of something. She tries gargle, throat sprays, tea, cough drops and even a bath with ice on her head. Nothing seems to work, not even eating her her favorite treats or wearing a big, fancy hat. So she goes to see an astrologer but no amount of lucky charms seem to help.
Her agents have an idea, though, and they tell her to go on stage as planned and wait for a surprise. So she gets ready and then goes on stage. Everyone gets seated, even the Queen. Hildegard is so nervous and worried she is going to be laughed at (or worse, have tomatoes thrown at her). But she goes on stage anyway, waiting for her manager's surprise. At the last moment, the agent runs in and gives her a little red box. When she opens it a mouse pops out and causes her to let out a scream.
The scream puts her voice back - letting her reach new octaves. And from that moment on, she sings better than ever before. Hildegard is now a star.