Sylvester’s Band is a wonderful interactive storybook to be enjoyed by both children and adults alike. I am impressed by how immersive this experience is, as every element is excellent with beautiful illustrations which use great color and a style all its own, as well as great use of interactions and perfect narration. The story is charming, about a raccoon who saves the day by finding missing band members in Sylvester’s Band so that a big party can go on as planned.
I really enjoy this story and I like the character of Henry a great deal, as the other animals in FireFly Forest think he is too clumsy and without the skills needed to be helpful to the other animals as they prepare for the big party that everyone is working hard to set up. These animals are cliquish and harsh with Henry, sometimes blowing raspberries in his direction, even throwing food at him at one point in this story. Luckily the bright, joyful illustrations used lessen these blows and bring humor to these not-nice actions towards Henry, making this still an appropriate story for children. Things go awry with these party plans, and this is where the real adventure begins, as the rest of musician Sylvester’s band are no-shows and the party is canceled. It is Henry takes it upon himself to find the missing band members.
Trying to be helpful, Henry travels far and wide trying to save the great party by gathering up the missing bandmates to bring them home in time to start the show. Henry journeys to a river to find Benny the Beaver who has been too distracted with building a birdhouse to come join the band, but with Henry’s help, soon finishes his project and they both go off to find the other musicians. They find banjo-playing Bobby the Bear so out-of-shape from eating blackberries that he can’t move, until Henry devises a workout for Bobby, getting him in shape for the show. The gang then travels to the top of the clouds, luring William the Wolf down to ground level and back to the forest by lassoing the moon and talking it with them to the concert, allowing the show to go on.
The illustrations are simply gorgeous to look at and I really appreciate how each location Henry visits has a unique landscape all its own, while maintaining the style used throughout this book, such as squared-off trees or cloud formations. I enjoy a great deal how the look of this story changes, becoming dark as the gang makes their way high into the clouds looking for William the Wolf. The details about lassoing the moon in order to bring it to the party create wonderful images that stayed with me after reading this book, my favorite moment of this story. It is also great fun the way each time Henry collects another band member they can all be seen, one by one, running to a new location. These creatures look great as well, but I do find it a bit odd that Henry, a raccoon looks very un-raccoon like, being orange and without the tell-tale mask.
The included hot spots are numerous, charming and very well-done. There are instruments one can tap to hear them play, as well as varied other interactions to enjoy, but what stands out the most is the use of physics-based interactions – a detail I was not expecting until I can across these wonderful details. There are many places to tap that are sometimes stacked precariously that one can interact with, such as Benny’s project or the gang as they hang by a rope, climbing high up into the clouds to look for William.
It seems as if not a moment is overlooked in terms of adding places to interact with and I am happy that these many interactions are not silly, random actions happening the way they do in some books, but each adds to the richness and the look of the story no mater how minute the detail.
The use of sound and narration here is also excellent. Each page is filled with music, musical elements to tap on or other sound effects, each working wonderfully to further the storyline and it is nice that these sounds are not affected if one chooses to silence the narration and read this book by oneself.
Although reading this book like a classic book without narration, I don’t think that many people will experience this ebook in this manner as the narration is one of the best I have heard in narrated storybooks. The narration used here is simply excellent as the voice talent has a perfect voice for radio – utterly clear, personable and with a soothing resonance that I love to listen to, reminding me of why I like to listen to NPR. I am glad that the narrator here, Bob Barns, is given billing on the title page as it is extremely well deserved and because of his talent, and I would be interested in any narrated app based solely on his connection to the project. I hope more books about the anthropomorphic animals of Firefly Forest are developed, and that Bob Barns is the talent behind the narration. The choices made here for every element are extremely well-done and beautifully executed.
Developer: Morten Sandholt
Released: 2011-07-27 00:00:00
Description from the DeveloperSylvester's Band is a fun interactive storybook for parents and children to enjoy together. Through an engaging app for iPad and iPhone, children learn about the different musical instruments and are encouraged to explore each page by touching the world and characters on the screen.
Henry is a raccoon. He is small. And he is clumsy. At least, that's what the other animals in Firefly Forest tell him. But when Sylvester's Band goes missing and the big party is about to be cancelled, Henry the raccoon is the only one that volunteers to go find the lost band members and bring them back to Firefly Forest.
Sylvester's Band features.
- Explore 37 beautifully illustrated pages.
- Touch and turn the book to interact with the world and characters.
- Let the English voice-over read aloud or read it yourself.
- Learn to read with interactive text highlighting.
- Pay for it once and enjoy it on both your iPad and iPhone.
- Suitable for all children ages 2 and up.