A beautifully produced book that interweaves fact and fantasy to sing songs and tell a story that provokes children to think about humankind’s responsibility to protect the rainforests.
This story of three children set in a rainforest, mixes some fantasy with some facts and a slice of environmental awareness to inform and entertain young children. The best way to describe the app is as a book where each chapter involves narrated and written story elements alongside full length songs that highlight key aspects of the story. Together, these provide variety within this app, as well as distinguishing it from other apps of this type.
While describing this app as a book gives a good idea of how it might be used, it does deviate from the structure of a book in the traditional sense. The chapters are more like scenes made up animation, narration and songs. Page turns are used as a way of cutting between these sections but users of the app don’t need to initiate these as the story progresses automatically.
The scenes are beautifully drawn in a way that represents the idea of this fantasy imbued rainforest perfectly. The visual interest of these scenes is further enhanced by its stylised animation. Sweeping vistas of the rainforest are panned across with a clever simulation of depth of field controlling levels of focus on different elements. This lends it all a majestic and slightly dreamy aspect that suits the app as a whole perfectly. Individual characters are likely to glide along with these scenes rather than be directly animated in themselves, but it all works well and looks wonderful.
As the story develops, the characters, sometimes human, sometimes animal, occasionally plants, burst into full length songs. These are fully developed songs with verses, choruses, full instrumentation and quite often a strong dose of catchiness. You may find yourself wondering where that snippet of tune you keep humming came from, until you remember it was this app.
There are a number of uses for The Rainforest Musical: Kakamega. The most obvious is that of a traditional story book, but with the obvious benefits of the enhanced aural and visual elements. Both individuals using it alone, and classes watching it unfold on an interactive whiteboard will be drawn into the story. Despite the fantastical elements of the tale, it makes a good job of highlighting the morality and politics of rainforest destruction in a way that children can understand. This makes it an ideal way to introduce rainforests as a topic for geography lessons.
The full version of this app requires an in-app purchase but comes with a number of interesting extras. Not just the rest of the story but the musical scores and lyrics for the songs. It will need a musically able teacher, but this could allow it to form the basis of a fantastic class assembly about their work on rainforests.
Offering a substantial experience, even without spending any money, there is no reason for not having a good look at this app for its sheer child-pleasing entertainment value. For those who can combine it with a unit of learning about rainforests it becomes even more pertinent and should be a great way to stimulate interest.
From the Developer
From award winning composer Shirley Choi comes The Rainforest Musical Kakamega, an exciting 90 minutes adventure application for iOS. Children ages 5-12 will enjoy this colorful, fun app’s nine chapters featuring twelve original songs.
Children will enjoy learning fun facts about the rainforest, meeting new animal friends, and playing along with Kakamega’s rich musical score!
Kakamega follows the story of Kaka and Yano, young twins who live in the lush, diverse -- but endangered -- rainforest. When Henry, a sick boy from the city, runs away into the forest, Kaka and Yano decide to help him by finding a mythical, magical, healing flower.
Joined by singing animals and talking trees, the children make their way through the rainforest. On their journey they discover the dangers of the logging industry, and make it their mission to convince the loggers or the importance of preserving their forest home.
Children ages 5-12 will enjoy this colorful, fun app’s nine chapters featuring twelve original songs.