This deligtfully animated and compelling storybook is based on the film by the same name, produced in 2009. The book follows the movie plot closely, with fully animated scenes on every page. Little Nathanial and his family come to Eleanor's home after she has died to find her estate left in disrepair. Eleanor has gifted her library of books to little Nathanial, but until he can learn to read, the true magic of this gift is lost.
A lot of plot details from the original film are skimmed over in this brief retelling, but the essence of the story remains intact. The gift of reading is at the center of the plot and in the end, Nathanial and his family are able to preserve the literary legacy. The app features lots of animated scenes to explain the story beyond the text.
The only true interactivity present in this book is in the 'extra' - a unique drop down of each page's text that can be explored with several words highlighted. Tap on any of these words to get either a definition or image to help young readers expand their vocabulary. You can also switch this text to print or cursive (French or English), or set it to a mode that highlights all the vowels, syllables or silent letters on the page.
Overall, this is an enchanting and original app with lots of unique features. The suite of apps from So Ouat are all quite nice except for Facebook and Twitter icons that literally bounce, alongside icons of the developer's other apps that scroll constantly along the bottom of the title page - enticing youngsters. The large inset video also plays only with narration on, making this a book that is more enjoyable when watched rather than read. Otherwise this is a lovely app and very enjoyable for both children and adults.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Anik Le Ray
10 - 12 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 6 - 10
English • French • Dutch •
The plot of the movie Eleanor's Secret: Nathaniel, aged 7, goes to spend the summer holidays in the seaside villa that belonged to his old aunt Eleanor. Nathaniel's parents inherited the villa and Nathaniel also received a gift in his aunt's will: a whole library of old books. The inheritance doesn't much interest him until he discovers that the books are inhabited... Captain Hook, Alice and even the Wicked Fairy live in these books, which are the ORIGINALS of every fairy story! Better still, these tiny heroes of children's literature need Nathaniel to protect them. All he has to do is to read the magic inscription in the library to keep them alive. But Nathaniel still has problems with reading and before he can decipher the inscription the books are sold to a secondhand dealer. Nathaniel, now shrunk by the Wicked Fairy to the size of the storybook heroes, surpasses himself to save his tiny friends and their stories, even to the point of facing up to an ogre, or battling with beach crabs that are now giant size! [Plot summary from iMDb]