Finn’s Paper Hat HD
Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 3.2.2 or laterFinn's Paper Hat HD,
Age Rating: 4+
As a child, my best, most treasured memories began with the most simple of play things. From there, imagination took over and hours of engrossed play time followed. Whether it was a dress-up coat or a flower in the garden, I could imagine my own far-away lands into creation with a gaggle of friends and wild adventures to be had. This is the same kind of experience that children’s books offer – all you need is an idea and the rest takes on a life of its own.
Now that we have seen books go digital, children’s stories have taken on a new interactive element that exists beyond the plot and the paper it is written on. Finn’s Paper Hat HD ($4.49) from Tizio is a delightful example of where the children’s storybook genre is heading and the new wave of creativity that defines it.
Written and illustrated by Chantal Bourgonje (author of Fierce Grey Mouse) Finn’s Paper Hat is a whimsical adventure tale that begins with Finn, a little boy who one day makes a hat from newspaper to play with, but when it begins to rain he must find other ways to chase adventures. What transpires is an odyssey across wintry lands and rough seas accompanied by a very special friend.
The illustrations in this story are delicate and clever. The palette is a mix of muted tones in brown, beige and cream offset with detailed black ink etchings. Bourgonje works a lot with layering and collage to create depth and movement. On every page of the book there are animations and sound effects that help bring the story to life. However, there is an option to mute the sound if you wish.
Interactive capabilities let you tap the screen throughout the story to make the animated rain fall harder, the snow fall thicker and when shaking the iPad, the waves move faster. You can also set the sun at the end of the story and create stars in the night’s sky. Add to that narration settings in two languages (English and Dutch) and a range of accents including Great Britain, Australian, New Zealand and Irish and you have a wonderfully customisable app that speaks to children of all ages and cultures.
Perhaps my favourite part of the book’s graphics is the newspaper hat which appears on every page. The real-life print with readable headlines is an interesting adult juxtaposition to the child-like, ice-cream hues of the main illustrations.The art doesn’t conform to the neon, one-dimensional pictures of its genre, providing something unique that is appealing to boys and girls.
Adult juxtaposes child: Spot the cheeky beginning of an adult headline above, just one of the quirky additions to the main illustrations of the book.
The soundtrack peps up the story, especially as the adventure progresses and reaches its high points. Parents may opt to mute this, however, if their child – like so many – want it read to them over and over again!
Finn’s Paper Hat also has a menu of ‘extras’ that will provide hours of entertainment and fun, long after the story has come to an end. There are two colouring pages that can be filled by selecting colours from the palette and tapping inside the image outlines. A great added feature to this (one that I previously noted would have been ideal for Fierce Grey Mouse) is the ability to save drawings. I’m yet to meet a parent who doesn’t want to keep every piece of artwork their child creates, so this is a nice option to have stored on the iPad to email or to print and put up on the fridge.
Extra extra: Finn’s Paper Hat comes with a whole host of extra options.
Other activities include an interactive sing-along and beautifully sketched instructions to make your own paper hat.
Finn’s Paper Hat brings the very best of storytelling to create an app that children are bound to enjoy. Chantal Bourgonje’s style is distinct and unlike many reading apps of its kind. There are a lot of sound and animation effects going on, so you may want to mute the music because it could become irritating pretty quickly. That being said, I enjoyed revisiting my childhood days with a tale as sweet and magical as this.Finn's Paper Hat HD,