Bertie is a little boy who loves staring at the moon and stars through a large window in the ceiling of his bedroom ... until one day the moon goes missing. In this enchanting and beautifully illustrated storybook app, readers will find out how Bertie solves this mystery, with the help of some nocturnal friends. Based on a 2010 print title, this app features over a dozen options for translation, perfect for foreign language learners. Who Stole the Moon? is also a 'must-download' title for lovers of bedtime book apps in particular.
Ingenious interactive elements include story-related gems as well as lots of unique features, like pages that scroll up and down, alongside more linear arrow page turning. Readers get to move the clouds out of the way, at the end of the title, to demonstrate how the moon can be hidden by something as insubstantial as a bit of fog. Most of the interactions are like this, not only fun for young fingers, but nicely tailored to give visual and kinesthetic reinforcement to the story's plot. In fact, the integration of all the elements by this app development team is exceptional, creating a seamless experience that invites reading over and over.
Eight original songs are included, setting the stage for a relaxing bedtime read. The text is crisp, clear and in a nice sized font, although it does not highlight as read. The narration, in all the languages I sampled, is nicely done, giving the story a lyrical quality. The story itself is well-crafted and paced nicely, told in just over 20 pages. The art is scrumptious, with rich colors that are particularly lovely back-lit in a dark room. The animation is simple but polished, although clearer hints for some of the interactive elements would be a nice addition.
There are four games included with this book app, including over a dozen puzzle pages, a tapping game with fireflies, fun coloring pages with lots of options for creativity, plus a diverse set of matching games. There are also eight original songs, all lovely and relaxing for bedtime, with a feature that lets you choose to Listen or Sing Yourself (karaoke-style - although there is no record function). The settings are otherwise nicely made, including a page guide, home button and easy on/off buttons for music and narration.
My only complaint with this beautifully made app, is how easy it is to leave the story from the title page, with prominent links for the web, iTunes, Facebook and Twitter. This is truly the only thing keeping this from being a 5-Star app, since children under 12, in particular, should not be tempted by links to social media sites, the web or anywhere else they may be misled into purchases or sharing.
Despite this one small (but significant concern), I was really impressed by this app (as was my child). My husband even enjoyed both the Spanish & French versions (as he is a native speaker of three languages). I was truly 'wowed' by it in English, something hard to do with a reviewer of apps. Overall, Who Stole the Moon? is a gorgeously illustrated book, narrated, lightly animated and interactive with beautiful background music. This charming story is perfect for night-time reading (and daydreaming), featuring fun extras and a story that could easily become a classic. Highly Recommended.
Note to readers: This review was expedited by the developer for a fee. The review's content 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.
Helen Stratton-Would/Vlad Gerasimov
12 - 20 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 3 - 9 +
English • French • Spanish •German •Italian •Dutch •
Little Bertie has a skylight in his bedroom and loves to stare at the sky, especially the moon at night. One evening, however, he looks up and can't find the moon at all. He decides to ask the nocturnal animals in his garden if they know where the moon has gone. The animals pictured include a red-eyed tree frog, kiwi, bat, snow leopard, jerboa, cuttlefish, aardvark, and anaconda snake.
Then Bertie's asks several new animals his question, about who stole the moon. Each animal explains what they were doing during the night-time hours. Bertie asks a hedgehog, fox, badger, mole, and finally a wise owl who solves the mystery. Owl says, "it's a cloudy night. When it's cloudy, the moon and stars are hidden, but as soon as the clouds blow over, the moon and stars will be back. Don't worry."
Bertie waits for another night and is comforted to find it cloudless and moon-filled. He dreams about becoming an astronaut.