This original book app features light animation and interactivity along with a captivating story about a boy whose shadow has gotten away from him. Reginald likes to entertain his friends with shadow puppets more than anything in the world, besides eating liquorice, which has earned him the affectionate nickname 'Fat Shadow'. But one day his shadow is taken hostage by 'Lady Dark' and he must go to the Land of Disappearing Shadows to try and strike a bargain for his dear friend to return to his side.
On his journey, Reginald gains his shadow back but loses his 'fatness' ... after a fun but harrowing adventure that includes travelling through the 'Empire of The Black Beasties' and the 'Empire of The Disappearing Stains'. The storyline is well-crafted and something both kids and adults will enjoy, although some regionalisms, like the term 'Chinese Shadows' or even references to his favorite 'liquorice wheels' may be novel for North American readers.
Fun interactivity includes turning the lights off to see the shadow puppets, moving obstacles to help Reginald on his quest and an assortment of sound effects. These enhancements are just right for the tale, engaging young readers without distracting from story comprehension. Lots of light but nicely polished animation will also enchant young readers and keep them moving through the book's lovely illustrations.
Simple settings round out this lovely title, including arrow page turning and a home button to return from the final page. There is also a page guide, accessible from the title, but no way to get 'home' or to this guide from within the book, which would be nice for a future update. Music and narration can be turned on or off from the main page as well, and the text is in an easy to read font, however it does not highlight as read. Two extras are also included, a small page describing 'Hand Shadows' and a handful of puzzles, although they are not especially engaging, especially for younger kids since the puzzles do not 'click' into place, which is rather unsatisfying in digital.
Overall, this is a delightful new storybook that will enthrall young readers with the idea of 'losing your shadow' ... something my little boy said was funny but then added, nervously, "That can't REALLY happen, can it, mommy?" Fat Shadow is top notch for originality and nicely crafted use of the tablet medium. With a few additional settings and enhancements, like highlighting, it would be nearly perfect. 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.
Enzo Lauria/Antonio Scarpetta
12 - 15 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 4 - 9
This is the story of Reginald, a little boy who likes to make shadow puppets or "Chinese Shadows" with his hands to entertain his friends. He also loves liquorice, eating so much that he turns a bit grey and becomes so large he gets the nick-name 'Fat Shadow'. Then one day, Reginald's actual shadow decides to run off, snipping itself from the boy with a pair of scissors left on the floor.
His parents take him to a 'Shadow Specialist' but that is no help. Soon a small mouse encourages Reginald to go to the 'Land of the Lost Shadows' to meet 'Lady Dark', queen of that land, before she eats his shadow for breakfast. Once on his journey, Reginald, encounters many obstacles, like 999 steps up and down, many 'beasties' and the 'Empire of Disappearing Stains'.
When he meets 'Lady Dark' he asks her to give back his shadow, so he can make lovely puppets with his hands again. At first she refuses, but when Reginald offers her some liquorice, and has to give it up forever to get his shadow back, making him both pink and and much less plump.
More information about "Chinese Shadows" - from Wikipedia:
The (shadow puppet) show began to spread to Europe in the mid-18th century, when French missionaries in China took it back to France in 1767 and put on performances in Paris and Marseilles, causing quite a stir. In time, the Ombres chinoises (French for "Chinese Shadows") with local modification and embellishment, became the Ombres françaises and struck root in the country. The art was a popular entertainment in Paris during the 19th century, especially in the famous nightclub district of Montmartre. The tradition in France dates back to at least the mid-18th century when it was brought back by travellers to the Orient. The puppeteer François Dominique Séraphin first presented the spectacle in Paris in 1776, and in Versailles in 1781.
Nowadays, several theatre companies in France are developing the practice of shadow puppets: Le Théâtre des Ombres, Le Théâtre du Petit Miroir, Le Théâtre Les Chaises, and La Loupiote.
Shadow play or also known as shadow puppetry is an ancient form of storytelling and entertainment which uses flat articulated figures (shadow puppets) to create the impression of moving humans and other three-dimensional objects.
Shadow puppets are cut-out figures which are held between a source of light and a translucent screen or scrim. The cut-out shapes of the puppets sometimes include translucent color or other types of detailing. Various effects can be achieved by moving both the puppets and the light source. A talented puppeteer can make the figures appear to walk, dance, fight, nod and laugh. Shadow play is popular in various cultures; at present more than 20 countries are known to have shadow show troupes. Shadow puppets have a long history in Indonesia, China, India, Greece, Nepal, Turkey, and are a popular form of entertainment for both children and adults in many other countries around the world.
This app does not yet have a written review. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how we rated this app in 9 categories.
Are you interested in becoming a guest reviewer for Digital-Storytime? Contact us …