Amelia and Terror of the Night is a kids’ iPad book that is packed full of imagination, animation and stimulation. This interactive book tells an “over-the-top” story about friendship, courage and determination as Amelia and 2 of her friends put themselves in danger in order to save another friend from the “soul-stealing” Whine creature.
Amelia is a little girl with peculiar animal friends (a blue kitten who gets around on a unique set of wheels because she is missing hind legs, a big tiger-teddy-bear-looking creature with one missing horn, and a shy little tortoise named Little Pencil). This unique kids’ iPad book melds many styles together to form something that is truly unusual. I consider it Tim Burton-esque for its macabre and humorous style, with a hint of Salvador Dali for the random and bizarre animations and interactions thrown in, and a dash of Disney’s Brer Rabbit for all the silly and fun bugs and woodland creatures you’ll see throughout.
There is a lot to see, do, and hear in this interactive kids’ iPad book, which can be heard in 2 languages (English and Polish). There are professional actors performing the character voiceovers and narration, and the different character accents add to the ongoing interest. There is cinematic music of different moods throughout: dramatic, playful and free, soft and dreamy, spooky and creepy, to a strong sense of urgency. The hand-drawn artwork, graphics, animations, and music are amazing — but all together can appear bizarre and chaotic for some at first glance.
The artwork and music grabbed me immediately, but I almost dismissed this story after opening this kids’ iPad book and listening to the first line of the story, which was accompanied by a strange “squeaky-squeaky” rubber ducky sound whenever I tapped on the page. And turning to the next page only brought more oddities like random, almost nonsensical lines spoken by the main characters. And the animations that appeared (after tapping on empty dotted enclosures) seemed a bit too “out there” to come together and form a cohesive tale; however, I’m glad I explored a little further because I discovered a very wonderfully creative, intelligent and incredibly imaginative kids’ iPad book.
One of the surprising and clever elements you’ll find in this kids’ iPad book is a fun page turn animation, which features a set of different character hands/paws each time. They grab the page and pull the page right or left to turn it — I love that! Each page alternates between a full screen page with lots of animation and interactions to a still picture frame image in a book, with no animations other than some silly insect buzzing about, which you can hold in place with your finger to the point of its exhaustion — Yes, it’s a little demented, but I couldn’t help myself. And there’s that odd squeaky noise.
The whole book has a constant sense of movement and energy going on in most every page — from every aspect (music, interactions, and animations like: moving clouds, leaves, birds, and a guitar-playing squirrel to name a few). But the use of the iPad’s accelerometer literally keeps this kids’ iPad book in constant motion with the back and forth rocking motion when tilted. You have to tilt the iPad to see all the interesting things happening on the far outskirts of the screen — but it’s worth it.
Kids will be engrossed in the various activities. I especially liked the musical toad choir where you have to listen and repeat the pattern order, as well as the insect tic-tac-toe game where you play as either a grasshopper or a ladybug, and dressing the 3 heroes in their special battle armor. Yes, this kids’ iPad book is quirky and eccentric, with strange and seemingly unrelated oddities everywhere you turn, but there is a logic to all this random zaniness you won’t discover until the end.
Besides, the strangeness is what will keep you hooked — right up until the end when you realize the rationale behind it all — then it makes perfect sense. It just may surprise you. Most kids will adore this interactive book and want to read it again and again — but for some it could be very overwhelming. Overall, I really enjoyed Amelia and Terror of the Night. This kids’ iPad book is “unhinged” imagination at its best.
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