Last year, Alex had an opportunity to review Orphs of the Woodlands The Treasure of HighTower from Star Toaster. We loved the interactive features of this online book along with all of the educational jobs and the fun of caring for the orphs. This story was suggested for grades 4-7. One of the things that I commented on in my review was that I loved the concept and wanted to see something similar in a lower reading level. I was so excited to see Star Toaster back on our vendor list this year with a new interactive book, a prequel to The Treasure of HighTower geared for children ages 9-11!
Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree is an app designed for iPad or iPhone running iOS 8.0 or later. It is a book, but it is so much more. There are 23 short chapters(122 pages) in this animated interactive reading adventure. There are also 75 lessons in math, language arts, science, life skills, thinking skills, character, and the arts. To test their skills about each area they have learned something new in, children will perform a variety of jobs (over 130 of them) to earn stars to buy items to care for the baby orphs.
What are baby orphs you might ask? Well, there was a flood and Abba the flying squirrel and his friends rescued some orphaned animals which are called orphs. To care for the orphs he has to be able to buy things they need (food, clothing, diapers, etc...) To do that your child must earn stars by completing jobs as they read through the story.
Multiple children are able to use the app at one time. The work is tracked on your device, so if you have more then one device you should make sure your child uses the same one every time. Parents can easily see what their children have accomplished by choosing their child's work or progress in the menu.
I have had Anthony (10) using this app once a day 3-4 days a week on my iPad. Since it is hard to be able to write a review on things you don't use yourself, I made a load for myself and have been using it on my iPhone. I think I have enjoyed it as much as he has.
The first time we used the app, it look awhile to load because I have super slow internet and there is a lot of artwork and some animations that took a little while to download. After that first time we have had no issues.
This is such a cool little app! The story is engaging and will keep your child reading. The animations are adorable and we love the interactive features. There is a wide variety of learning activities within each of the chapters. We love the different jobs and that there is job training provided before the children have to answer the questions. Earning stars to "buy" items for the orphs is great motivation for completing the jobs, but I also like that the children cannot just spend all of their time completing jobs. They have to go back and read the book to have the opportunity to complete more jobs.
Star Toaster did an excellent job with this app! I can't wait to see the next book in the series. I would love to see this app made available for Android platforms as well so the children could play it on their own devices.
To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!