Remember that old saying about how you ought not to judge a book by its cover? It’s because one’s outward appearance does not necessarily reflect his or her worth. It’s a valuable lesson that I try to keep in mind and practice every day.
Today, I’m going to review an app that delivers this beautiful message through a heartfelt tale. It’s called Love, the App, which is adapted from a short illustrated story by Gian Berto Vanni.
A Tale About Love
Love is a story about a girl who, at the tender age of nine years old, was abandoned by her parents and sent to an orphanage. Deemed unattractive and a little strange, the girl was ostracized by her peers. A rumor spread about her that got so bad, even the director of the orphanage considered sending her away.
Published in 1964, the original Love book was an experimental piece. It didn’t conform to the conventional book format; instead, it utilized colorful paper, peepholes, and minimalist illustrations to create an artistic presentation.
Love, the app preserves this creative design, down to the original hand-drawn illustrations and paper cut-outs. At the same time, the app also adds story-driven animations and original soundtrack. The result is a cinematic app that immerses the reader from start to end.
Rather than encourage, the app requires interaction in order to move forward within the story. For example, the first page only has a single sentence, “Once upon a time”, written on a strip of paper. Only after tapping on the paper will the app reveal the next sentence (“There was a little girl”) and the accompanying illustration.
It is interesting to see the interaction laid out differently on each page. There are hints, in the form of swishing paper or blinking illustrations, to denote where to tap next. There is also a convenient set of navigational arrows on the bottom of page, should you want to jump quickly to the next or previous page.
After completing the book, you can choose to go back to the beginning or the cover page. From the latter, you can bring up special sections to learn more about the author, the story behind the app, or the development team.
Parents Need to Know
Love is short and minimalist; most pages only contain 1-2 lines of text. However, be aware that this story may not sit well with very young kids as it contains a dark tone and sad imagery that may upset them. As such, your personal judgement is required to determine if the book will be well received by your juniors.
One thing to note is that the app does not include narration. A sensible design decision, if you consider the app’s darker theme and intended audience. However, I wanted to point this out just in case you were curious.
Safety-wise, there is nothing to be wary of. The app does not contain ads, in-app purchases, or external links.
Things I Like
Love is a poetic tale about tolerance and love that will keep you thinking long after you’ve completed it. I wasn’t familiar with the original book, but I am thankful that the app has exposed me to this sad but hopeful story.
When considering the app alone, I think it’s very well done. You can tell that the app makers worked hard to preserve the look and feel of the physical book; if you look carefully, you can see signs of wear and tear in the pages of the app. These little details give the app a real-world quality to it.
I also have to say that the interaction and animation work well to support the story. There were times when I didn’t know exactly where to tap, but the hints definitely made things easier. Finally, the original soundtrack is thoughtful and perfectly synchronized to the narrative, which helps create an immersive reading experience.
Love, the app is a lovely adaptation of a moving tale by Gian Berto Vanni, about a misunderstood orphan girl. The app successfully recreates the artistic look and feel of the original book, while enhancing it with meaningful interaction and moody soundtrack. I would highly recommend the book for families with older kids, as well as adults who enjoy darker stories.
App was provided for our honest review.
Love, the app is available for iPad
Get it on the App Store: iPad
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