This original story from Addison's Tales, the newly launched digital book label from Wivern Digital, presents a charming tale written and narrated by C E Addison. Readers first meet Charlie, a young boy who is having trouble sleeping, and his new friend, a spider named Harry. This is a long title, with a quirky adventure involving a pair of talking mosquitos known as the Blood Brothers, unfolding over the course of over 70 pages. About half the pages contain small illustrations, making this app most similar to a chapter book with a fluent reading level of around 4th-6th grade (age 10-12 in the US).
As a digital title, this app is well made with ample features for navigation, like a page guide and bookmarking, but it is not really enhanced, beyond the inclusion of the author's lovely, British-accented English narration. A small number of simple touch points do sparkle on the pages with illustrations, but they merely repeat dialogue attributed to the character tapped.
Page-turning is done by a simple swipe, although the audio version is set only for 'auto play' which turns the pages automatically and disables the interactive elements, creating a more passive reading experience. It would be nice to see highlighting word-by-word with the narration added, as well as a way to include audio without giving up the option to turn pages and tap things yourself.
Overall this is a great reading app for older kids, with a story that is especially appealing to boys. Those seeking a more animated or interactive tale may be disappointed, but most young readers will simply be enthralled with the timeless quality of the storytelling in Harry the Huntsman. After all, it's hard to go wrong with talking spiders and a gang of bugs on the warpath!
Wivern Digital titles include a reading scale. This title is rated "Diadem". ‘D’ in Diadem is for the Decoding reader. Book apps stamped by Diadem are for readers starting to read independently, where the spoken assistance of the audio version can be used. The characters and themes are simple, the plots funny, and the decreased interactivity is used to enhance the storyline. Average age of reader is 7 to 9.
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.
Cornelius Elmore Addison/Frank Gerdes
Wivern Digital Limited
45 - 60 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 6 - 12
A tale of passion, vengeance and blood (and short-sighted spiders).
Cheer as the wandering doorspider Harry takes on the might of the Blood Brothers – a gang of half-witted mosquitoes with an unnatural taste for blood. Boo and hiss as the nefarious Caspius Cruel and his goons try to rob the blood bank of all blood banks, Charlie. Gasp as the gang’s every raid is met by the sensational Harry – a bookish spider with bad eyesight, excellent spelling and a cheeky right hook. Possibly the strangest tale you’re likely to read.
A curious tale of love, friendship, vengeance, betrayal, loyalty and spectacle-wearing spiders.
Audio version expertly narrated by Mr. Addison himself ...
Hidden digital secrets you’ll just have to discover for yourself ...
And the catchiest song currenty sung by spiders: The Landloper’s Song