There are very few apps that come across my tablet these days that 'wow' me on any level. Love, the app is simply the most exceptional app I have seen in 2014 and would be in my "all time" top 10 for the BEST offerings for children AND adults in the digital app market since its inception five years ago. It embodies every element of a good story, irregardless of format. It is moving, thoughtfully constructed and experienced on an almost visceral level when delivered in the beautiful digital "app" package from Niño Studio.
"Once upon a time ... there was a little girl," begins this heart-wrenching and (in the end) uplifting storybook. Her parents "went away" when she was nine and she ends up in an orphanage. Beautiful line-drawings, music and nifty paper-cut outs tell the story in an avant garde way, but the effect is not merely a sum of this app's parts. Even the best scenes, like a stone cut-out that slides in place to show the 'not-so' pretty girl, create an ambiance but do not overshadow the intensity of the narrative. The child is abandoned, lost and unaware of her magnificence. The word-craft is impeccable, capturing the under-appreciated role of love in all its forms, especially from family when we are young. "And people never told her," it says, "isn't she darling!"
The role of love is unquestionable, undeniable and undervalued in a world of asset-tests, evidence-based research and measures of human competence. But it is the most pure, unadulterated and valuable thing we can share with our children. Love defies 'reason' for a reason and in a poetic way, this title, first published in print by Berto Vanni in the 1960s, manages to capture that elusive concept in a book that was truly meant to be experienced in an interactive environment. The jury for the coveted Bologna Children's Book Fair Digital "Ragazzi" Award agreed, giving it their top honor in 2014.
The combination of sound effects, music, movement and words is dramatic, life-affirming and beautiful. This is simply the most delightful book you will read on your tablet this year - hands down! The only thing the title lacks is a page-guide or other way to navigate, but the reading experience is so immersive, most people won't even realize it's missing. There is also no narration, which would be a wonderful addition. However, as a translation from print to digital, this digital book is truly bordering on perfection. A must-download for anyone ... of any age. You'll feel better after reading this book, guaranteed.
Our Highest Recommendation!
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.
Gian Berto Vanni
4 - 6 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 6 - 10 +
A STORY ABOUT LOVE
Love, the app brings back the illustrated masterpiece and timeless classic LOVE, first published in 1964 by italian artist Gian Berto Vanni. Reviewed by the New York Times as “an off-beat work", LOVE enticed thousands of readers all over the world:
- "For me it was about having such blind love and faith in people and just how much more there is to a person than meets the eye... Beautiful!"
- "Short and sweet --- with an unique layout. Prepare yourself for a real heart tug."
- “I have no idea how to describe how the book touched me, it certainly touched me deeply, I wil never forget this wee girl...never ever...”
- “Reminds us that not so lovely people are lovable and worthy.”
- "Maybe the saddest, sweetest book ever."
Because of its universal theme, LOVE is now as powerful as ever. A story that recaptures our ability as humans to love, regardless of our differences.