This spring, I was contacted by a representative from Story Fort, who asked me if I’d be interested in taking a look at one of their interactive, digital books for kids, What’s Bothering Carl?
Without hesitation, I told her absolutely, yes, sure, no question about it, I’d be more than interested; it’s just taken me two months to find a good time to do it. So today, on yet another rainy day, we tried a little something new on this New For Us Friday–our very first digital book.
- Story Fort: What’s Bothering Carl? is about a young cyclops named Carl who isn’t bothered by much but ends up being totally irritated by his very itchy snowsuit. He then goes on a quest to end his problem, and little readers can follow along as he embarks on his adventure.
If you check the website, you’ll see that the creators describe the book in four ways. They call it Interactive–you can click on parts of the story to create movement, hear sounds, and discover surprises. It’s also Musical, since there are two “music videos” in this story, one in the middle and one at the end (and darnit, these tunes are catchy!). The story is also Educational in that phrases are highlighted as they are read, and several words on each page can be clicked on and (bam!) the word is spoken at the same time a picture of the word pops up. It’s also called, Playful–there is a game at the end of the book that facilitates hand-eye coordination and memory skills.
We–Maddy, Owen, Cora, and I–found all of these things to be true, and we totally had a blast exploring the site, enjoying the story, jammin’ to the songs, and printing out some of the coloring sheets.
They’re offering a free trial now, and you can also view one of the music videos for free if you check the site. But if you want to skip the trial and just go for the book, you’re certainly not going to break the bank; you can get the book itself for less than 10 bucks, and after that, it’s yours to read whenever you want. Over here, we’d say it’s definitely worth a try.
Here’s what we thought. . .
- the colors, the graphics, the simplicity of the site;
- the ease with which Maddy (5 years old) and Owen (3 years old) could navigate through the story and site;
- that it’s made for children 3 years and older and it actually held Owen’s interest the entire 20+ minutes he went through the book;
- that the story highlights words on each page that kiddos could click to then see a picture and pronunciation of each;
- that the story included different characters that aren’t in many of our children’s literature–cyclops, gnomes, etc.
- that there were “secrets” on each page that kiddos need to search for;
- the songs–they’re cute and catchy without being annoying and there’s even a bird who raps in the middle of one (seriously);
- the whole idea behind it–not too many choices (not picking an ending, deciding the characters’ fate), just handing the control and speed of reading to the child;
- the memory game and coloring pages at the end are fun follow-ups. . .
- that the individual words were highlighted as they were read instead of phrases in order to better teach that one-to-one correspondence that early readers need to learn;
- that levels of the game were a little (cough) easier–Maddy got rocked by the baby, Carl, and Pop (3 levels of the game)–and so did I!! Okay, so maybe we don’t have the best memories over here. . . but we tried–like 10 times!
Overall, we’re so thankful for the kind folks at Story Fort for giving us What’s Bothering Carl? for free to try out. It was an awesome, fun, and new-for-us way of passing a rainy afternoon, and it’s pretty cool that it’s stuck on my computer now to use any time we want and won’t end up ripped, lost, or torn. How cool?
Disclaimer: Although I received this product for free, my opinion is my own and was in no way swayed by the company. It was, however, influenced by three cool little people I hang around with every single day.