Nearly There is the first storybook app I’ve ever read (played?) through and I was apprehensive when Johanna, one of the writers, contacted me and requested I review their iPad app. How do you “play” a storybook? Do you actually play it? Would the story be too young for me and hard for me to enjoy? Luckily, Nearly There is a great app; the story is simple enough for children, complex and perhaps even heavy for adults, and engaging for all with its simply captivating art.
When I began to play Nearly There, the title screen amazed me. “How cute!” I thought to myself, as I heard a heartily joyful voice singing an equally jovial song while the screen pans the world. Immediately, I thought the art reminded me of The Little Prince, one of my favorite books growing up (and even now, as a child at heart). The overall graphics are pretty nice as well. Having watercolored art is definitely a change of pace as it is gentle and appealing- albeit it is hard to distinguish what is what at times throughout the story because of the lack of strong, dark lines. Sometimes the font used in the story seems very out of place because of it’s contrast against the light and playful colors of the story. The book does have many other appeals though. The subtle little animations throughout various panels of the interactive storybook really make me smile- apples falling from trees, rocks falling from precarious cliffs, and jumping fish definitely add to a story book that only an electronic medium can do.
The story and voices/sounds are really intriguing and definitely help the reader develop an emotional attachment to each character.
Budley, Bishop, Secret, Gohome, Wahh, Baroness, Priceless, and Feathers all seemed to have come from a rocky background wrought with neglect and loneliness. Surprisingly, this is an incredibly heavy subject for a children’s book to touch upon but don’t fret! Budley and Bishop’s travels with their strange company helps these animals bond together and think forward to happy possibilities with a happy Nearly There ending because, well… what is an ending but a start of a new journey?