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Spooky Hollow - Interactive Children's Book

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Spooky Hollow is a delightful interactive story book that has an underlying message that demonstrates the importance of diversity despite an initial trepidation, the growth of different coloured pumpkins can enhance the excitement of the Spooky Hollow festival party! The reader is drawn into the story with excellent narration, splendid graphics and the interactive animals and skeletons.

Teacher Review

This professionally produced interactive book is a charming illustration of the careful blend of story, narration, synced to the words that appear in bold across the pages and the little interactive touch sensitive animations which ensures a small burst of engagement leading to a moral dialogue with a grown up.
 
The application was easy to load and leads the young reader into the library with a succinct set of help instructions for navigation. The story begins with the introduction of the three skeletons, despite the fact that this sounds, well, spooky, because the graphics are so good the skeletons appear in hats and smiles they are cleverly ingratiated with the young reader. These three skeletons are busy making a garden on the first page with a rake, seed pot and trowel, all touchable to set off a short sequence of animations. As the reader turns the first few pages’ narration and animations show the seeds being planted and watered then being tended to by the skeletons and eventually they grow and pumpkins appear on the vines. At this stage the reader is asked to purchase the remainder of the story, this seemed to me to be a rather early intervention, the scene had been set but the user is not necessarily hooked into the storyline with a burning desire to gain access.
 
Buying the application was relatively painless and the storyline develops into the curious, apparent misfortune of one of the skeletons tending a crop of multi-coloured pumpkins, definitely not conforming to the norm! As the story develops the skeleton tries various options to ensure that his pumpkins become the normal colour, however a chance meeting with a blue bat is to change the fortunes of the hapless skeleton. I will not give away the rest of the storyline because I do not wish to steal the thunder!
 
Special mention must be made of the graphics which are really charming and paint the picture of the story. The characters are obviously hand drawn with care and passion, the scenery and backgrounds are wonderfully atmospheric and enhance the storyline, I particularly like the rotating days to illustrate the growth of the pumpkin seeds.
 
The twenty or so pages have been put together extremely carefully and with excellent professionalism but I feel that the story is probably too short and could meander out from the pages and storyline to some form of educational game, where perhaps the child could sort the pumpkins into sizes or colours or even count or add pumpkins to a wheelbarrow to ensure value for money and a chance for entering into the story again.
 
However, in summary, and what appears to be a the first (and I would encourage more) application the outcome is of an excellently high standard. The development of further stories to fill the library will I am sure be of an equally high standard and will be well worth the wait. I would heartily recommend this app to schools and particularly parents to have tucked away and bring out when the need arises.

Screenshots

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From the Developer

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UPDATE v1.3.2
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-Support for both iPad and iPhone!
-Auto Read Mode to have the story read to you
-Enhanced graphics lite mode to prevent app crash when using older devices

Welcome to Spooky Hollow!

Here you will experience an interactive story about three skeletons who want to grow pumpkins for a party.

This original story is fun, beautiful and also teaches an important lesson in diversity and differences.
Watch the characters and backgrounds come to life with the tap of your finger!

Features:
- support for iPhone/iPad
- hand-drawn background and characters
- wonderful voice narration
- 2D animation
- all original story and art
- fully interactive storybook
- a lesson that differences are acceptable!

Note that for iPad 3/iPhone 4s and under, we recommend using the app in "Graphics Lite" mode to limit animation memory usage and prevent app crashes.
More info here: http://www.spookyhollowfriends.com/faq/

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