Stories about magic, witches, and wizards always intrigue people of all ages. No wonder that the Harry Potter series was highly successful. With a set of lovely characters and unique twists, an original story with a magical theme can also succeed in the market.
My app pick for today is a brand new app from Slim Cricket, the developers of a witch-themed storybook, The Witch with No Name, which was released mid last year. A few days ago, the developers released a prequel to that story, The Little Witch at School. You can already tell from the title that there will be some fun interactions with the Little Witch as she learns magic at her school.
The story takes place in the Chickenwich Elementary School, where the Little Witch learns about all colors of magic from the great Miss MacSpider. It is also the place where she meets Peepo, an elf who is very eager to become a wizard.
This book features a story arc in which all students try out for their first exam. The objective is for the students to bring their cuddly toys to life by following these steps:
- For art exercise, they need to get a thread from a spider’s web.
- For oral exercise, they need to use the spider’s thread to go down Miss Oxford Webster’s well and learn the magic words that can open an ogre’s mouth.
- For physical exercise, they need to use the magic words to enter the ogre's stomach and retrieve their magical crystal balls.
- For personality exercise, they need to use the crystal ball to store their names, and answer all the questions from the terrifying genealomagic tree to earn the special fruit of personality.
- Finally, they need to mix the fruit of personality along with their personal magic books and their cuddly toys to bring them to life.
The rest of the book tells how Little Witch and Peepo the Elf try to complete all the exercises. While their more savvy peers, Eagera and Ghostico, get to ride their own broomsticks, Little Witch and Peepo are forced to share a broomstick because Peepo’s is broken.
Their first trip is to visit Salvador Spidali, a Spider Art Specialist. The students are challenged to paint a spider web by associating the numbers on the palette with the numbers and equations on the spider web. Because Peepo is too afraid to get closer to the spider, the Little Witch has to take his place to complete the challenge.
Their friendship grows when they reach Miss Oxford Webster’s well. Because all the buckets have been taken by Eagera and Ghostico, Peepo offers his elf cap as replacement so that the Little Witch can go down the well of knowledge. On the bottom of the well, the Little Witch is challenged to find letters by their names.
The next step takes the Little Witch and Peepo to the sleeping Ogre Gobble-all. Little Witch says the magic words to open the ogre’s mouth, but Peepo decides not to enter because he can’t stand the ogre’s breath. The Little Witch then brings out two magical crystal balls: one for Peepo and one for herself.
Their final stop is the terrifying genealomagic tree where they need to answer three multiple choice questions. The Little Witch starts by using the crystal ball to store her name and erase it from her memory. She collects her special fruit of personality, but when she tries to take the second fruit on Peepo’s behalf, the giant tree won’t allow her to take more than one fruit.
He tangles both Little Witch and Peepo out of his anger, so players need to shake the iPad to get out the giant tree’s grip. Unfortunately, even though People earns his fruit, all the shaking causes Little Witch’s crystal ball to break into pieces.
What will happen to the Little Witch once her crystal ball is broken? Will they be able to pass the exam and bring their cuddly toys to life? The story has a surprise at the end that you need to find out for yourself.
Parents Need to Know
The Little Witch at School comes in two versions: free and full. The free version includes only the first six pages, whereas the full version has all 25 illustrated pages. Both versions include French narration and text in addition to English. As a bonus, the developers also put up downloadable paper cut-outs and coloring pages on their website.
The story highlights two social issues commonly found in schools: friendship and verbal bullying. As a parent, you can use the Little Witch story to discuss with your juniors about how they should react to bullying, and how helping a friend can earn them rewards later in their life journey.
Things I Like
I like the way the text in the story is presented. The sentences have different colors and small icons which allow readers to tell who says what. This element, when combined with the 3D illustrations which you can view by tilting or panning your iPad, enhances the reading experience.
I also like the designs for the mini games. All four games have three difficulty levels: Easy, Medium, and Hard. Because the storyline appeals to juniors ages 4-10, picking the right reading mode (“Read to Me” or “Read Myself”) and difficulty level is crucial for your junior’s reading experience.
For example, the Easy paint-by-number game only asks the players to match the numbers on the palette with the ones on the spider web. On the other hand, Medium and Hard levels require players to match numbers to addition or multiplication problems.
The questions asked by the giant tree also differ according to the set difficulty level. While the Easy level features relatively easier questions, the Hard level features fun riddles or questions that challenge players to a higher level of reading comprehension. Here are some of the sample questions:
“Which of these animals isn’t an insect?”
“I’m always indoors, but always wet. Who am I?”
“Who walks on all fours in the morning, on two legs at noon, and on three legs in the evening?”
The Little Witch at School also includes two additional games in addition to the four already mentioned previously. The first one is the Find the Cricket game, where players need to find the black cricket hiding throughout the book. The second one is a special game that you unlock by visiting the Surprise menu.
The Little Witch is a fun storybook about the Little Witch’s journey in bringing her cuddly toy alive, while helping juniors learn about different characters and their unique personalities. It also touches on thoughtful topics like friendship and verbal bullying. The characters are so much fun to read, it is worth checking out the sequel storybook as well.
App was provided for our honest review.