I’m pretty sure that almost every parent is familiar with the tale of Beauty and the Beast. If you were born in the 70s or 80s, the highly popular 1991 animated film is probably a major influencer in setting the visual and storyline interpretation of the story. However, the film also added many new characters and changes to the storyline that didn’t exist in the original story, presumably to make the film long enough (84 minutes) for the big screen.
If you prefer to let your juniors read or hear the original story with as minimum modifications as possible, you might be interested to check out this 3D popup storybook app from developer StoryToys. This version of Beauty and the Beast sticks to the core of the story, but adapts it to suit younger readers.
Nine Interactive 3D Scenes
Instead of rehashing the popular storyline, I would like to highlight the nine interactive 3D scenes that are uniquely developed for this app. As with any other StoryToys storybook app, this Beauty and the Beast adaptation also features a mix of static pages and interactive semi-3D pop-up scenes. The interaction designs for each 3D screen are playful, informative, and appropriate for young readers.
The first 3D screen in the app shows how the old female witch turns the young prince into a beast and buries inside a giant rock. You have to break through the rock to save him. Then, you meet Belle and help her sort beautiful autumn leaves according to their colors. In this game, you need to drag the falling leaves onto the respective piles.
In the third screen, you try to save Belle’s father from a hungry wolf. Similar to an endless running game, you need to tap Belle’s father to jump over many types of obstacles.
When Belle's father finally reaches the Beast's castle, he is greeted with a series of cake slices that you can help design in a mini game. When he wants to return home the next morning, he notices a rose garden behind a maze of snow-covered forest. In this fifth 3D screen, you need to help him plow through the snow blockades in order to get to the roses.
The next two screens mark the parts of the story where Belle starts living in the Beast’s castle. Here, she plays ping-pong with the Beast and receives many presents from him.
In the eighth screen, the story finally reaches its turning point where Belle uses the magic mirror and finds out that the Beast is dying because he misses her. And, the last 3D screen lets you play with candles to celebrate the happy ending of the story.
Parents Need to Know
As a parent, I prefer to have my sons learn the original version of a fairy tale, or a version that's as close as possible to the original one. I really appreciate how the developers try to stay true to the original story — even removing some details to keep it as short as possible. Granted, there are improvisations in terms of interactivity and mini game designs, but most are still relevant and contextual to the storyline.
The interactions are designed such that juniors as young as three-year-olds can play on their own. Most passages are short, including only a couple of sentences, making it suitable for early readers to brush up on their reading.
Things I Like
There are many things to like about this 3D popup storybook; such as the narrator’s voice, the sound effects, the parental button design, etc. All of them, combined with the storytelling approach and beautiful drawings, have successfully made the reading experience an enjoyable one. When comparing it to other 3D popup books by StoryToys, I believe this app has one of the most creative set of mini games.
The first one I’d like to mention is the mini game where you break through a maze of snow-covered forest to pick a rose for Belle. The developers uses the semi-3D depth of the scene to create a sense of realism; as you move forward to the next layer of snow-covered forest, the rose becomes more focused.
The other mini game that I would like to highlight is the ping-pong game that you can play against the Beast. I’m surprised to see how well the game is played. To help you, the game also shows subtle hints indicating where the ball will bounce next. And, just when you think you're starting to get the hang of it, the tempo of the game increases gradually.
Beauty and the Beast is a great fairy tale, and it deserves to be told as is. This 3D popup storybook from StoryToys has successfully delivered the original storyline in a beautiful app filled with nine interactive 3D screens. I’d recommend this app to any parent who is looking to introduce this fairy tale to their loved ones.
Note: Thank you to the wonderful people at StoryToys for sharing the app with us. We really enjoy reading it