Bottom Line: The story line isn’t perfect, but as a shared parent-child book its message of perseverance in tough times has value. The games are a nice bonus.
Seedonia begins when an orphaned mustard seed is discovered by an old Juniper bush (named Juni), who names the seed Faith. Faith has a dream that she grows into a big tree and that the other seeds will have a party in her branches. When she shares that dream with others, they bully her. Eventually, the bullying leads to her being all alone, literally, in a big hole. Luckily, while in the big hole, she sprouts.
While the message is positive, young children may be scared at several places when Faith is being led far away and abandoned. The bullies in this story are mean. Leave you in a big hole mean.
The story is slightly complicated as well, as it seems to be trying to fit many messages. Juni's response to the bullying ("...they are only words. You don't have to let them upset you."), while certainly wise, may not be helpful to children in real-life bullying situations, where contacting the proper school or law enforcement authorities is always the first recommendation. Faith's adoption is explained only very briefly.
The strongest message is one of perserverence, though, and the biggest bully does apologize to Faith in the end.
An ebook from KeWe Workshop, Seedonia is Christian-based, combining several different Biblical parables and character traits into one book, but non-Christian families will probably still find some value in the overall message.
The book portion of this app has the ability to choose Read On My Own, Read To Me, and Autoplay. The animations can also be turned on and off. These animations are not interactive or overwhelming; they are slight changes such as the rippling of the water in the stream and changing facial expressions. The illustrations themselves are simple and well done. The words are not highlighted when read or read when touched.
The reading level of the story is approximately a 4th grade level. Many younger children might have trouble maintaining their attention through the whole 32-page story, even with the Read to Me or Autoplay choices, or with a parent reading it out loud.
The game portion of this app consists of three different games: an I-Spy-style game, a memory match game, and a ping-pong game. All three games are a nice bonus — providing an extra feature to a book that isn’t interactive on its own. However, it would be nice to have some interactive games that relate more to the message of the story. I think it would be effective to have the games mention or help explain perseverance when completing a difficult task.
Overall, this book app isn’t completely polished, but the overall message is one that may be enjoyed by many families. I think it would work best when shared together between parent and child, so as to reinforce the positive message, as well as to discuss bullying. This book is the first in an intended series, and subsequent books would be improved by sticking to just one topic per book, and drawing it out more clearly, without several themes mixed together. The price, at $1.99 for the iPad HD app, is reasonable as well.
If you would like to purchase Seedonia please use the links provided. The cost is the same, but Smart Apps receives a small percentage. Thanks for your support!
This review was completed by Heather Hetler, who works as an elementary school SLP and is a full-time graduate student in Speech-Language Pathology. smartappsforkids.com was paid a priority-review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.