All My Love (for you) is a touching storybook with unique interactivity and gorgeous drawings by Belgian author and illustrator Dominique Maes. The blue line drawings are the highlight of this book app, featuring charming details and expressive characters on pages that scroll for additional exploration. The main character is a man with a heart for a head, telling the tale in the first person. He shares how much he loves you with pages of gifts he'd like to give. Filled with dozens of hidden interactive surprises, this lightly animated tale is one that children and adults will enjoy sharing.
There is a lot to explore within this app's 18 page storybook, including embedded extras. Scroll up and down or to either side to discover lots of magical details. There is also a special set up that allows up to four saved accounts within the app, each including a private notebook (blank typing page) and sketch pad (blank drawing page). They are locked behind a three-part secret code that the child can select from a variety of image icons. This is a fun feature for creative kids to expand on the story.
The parents page is full of information about the app and story, as well as a lot of links that leave the app to social media, the web and appstore. These links are protected under a riddle, so fluent readers could easily decipher the code: "Magical word is the main color of this book." Since this is a "blue" pen-sketched title, this is an easy password for adults, but out of the reach of pre-readers. Other settings are also well designed, including a nice page guide, drop down settings menu and the choice of arrow or swipe page turning.
Interactive elements are exceptionally engaging and beautifully placed to encourage children to explore each page. This exploration can interfere with reading comprehension, however, especially since the text does not highlight along with the narration. The arrow buttons at the bottom of the page appear as soon as certain hidden items are found. There are no active hints, but the page guide does have a full-page view with hearts to indicate how many items must be found on each page. You can swipe to skip these hidden surprises but there is no way to turn them off, making for a tale that may be too stimulating for bedtime.
While this app is solidly made, it was less responsive to tapping than I would have liked, with a slight delay. The narration, in English, is also paced a bit slow and not as warm or expressive as you might expect for a title about love. It sounds more like the audio narration on a museum tour, rather than a book being read to a small child. The text is also difficult to read, primarily because the screen resolution is not high enough, giving the text an unpleasant pixelated quality that strained my eyes.
The translation into English lacks the polish I assume it had in the original French version. My husband, a native French speaker, listened to the book in both languages and said it was wonderful in French but that it did 'lack something' in English. The text is completely understandable, yet missing that lyrical quality you expect from well polished phrases in English. For instance, on page eight it says, "As for me, I want to make you laugh and bring you joy. So, I'll give you this band of clowns: I'm warning you, they're contagious! You'll tell me when you've had enough." I assume the contagion is laughter and not a disease the clowns are carrying, but much of the book has this quality. It feels like a good translation but poor interpretation for a literary children's title.
Despite a few issues, this is a sweet storybook. It is based on some of the most enchanting, hand-drawn and whimsical illustrations I've seen in a book app and worth a download for that alone. The app also features unique and lovingly created interactive elements that will surprise and delight young readers. Especially recommended for French version.
Recommended. (with reservations noted above)
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.
Des Carabistouilles SPRL
8 - 12 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 4 - 8
English • French •
"This is a love story, written just for you. Dare to read it, and share it with your loved ones: your dad, your mom, and your friends." All my Love (for you) is an application with a rare poetic spirit, designed for both children and grown-ups, through which a father expresses and shares his love for his child. It’s filled with wonder and a love of life, poetically exploring what’s meaningful, with the simplest ideas being the most memorable.
Dominique Maes is a well-known Belgian artist who has already published many books for children and adults. Dominique has a very characteristic writing and drawing style, a fine sense of humor and an attention for details in the fore- and background of his illustrations. What Dominique has to say about this app: “I had been thinking about the topic of love for years when I realized that Apple technology has suddenly made new narrative options possible. While I wanted to make all the illustrations in a very traditional way -blue pen on high-quality paper- tablet technology allows for an abundance of playful (and touching!) surprises.” [Source: iTunes]