Bottom Line: A sweet tale of two friends who team up to create a robot. Interactive features help move the story along, but tweaks and improvements could help move the app from good to great.
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Hanna and Henri are two sweet friends from developer Tales & Dice AB who are back for their second adventure together. This time they are helping Hanna's scientific aunt build a robot. What does the robot do? What is he for? Well, you'll have to download the app to find out because you know I don't believe in spoilers.
From the main screen you are able to manipulate a handful of settings related to the app, like text size and sound. Your kiddo can choose "begin the story" to read the story in full, or press the button at the top of the screen to select a particular chapter from the story.
The story itself is pleasantly narrated and exquisite language is used throughout. Features on each page are cause-and-effect interactive, in that they are pressed and simple animations appear. There are additional components, too, that require action from your little reader for the story to move on. For instance, your kiddo must select the clothes Hanna wears for the day, the pieces of the robot, or cleaning up spilled fruit. I'm a big fan of this feature as it encourages engagement from the app user and becomes a part of the story rather than just extra "fluff."
The graphics in this story are sweetly drawn and while clearly cartoon-esque, still true to life. Sound adds to the story but, as with any good app, the sound can be controlled from the settings page, which is accessable from any point in the story (settings cannot be accessed, however, during activities). The main characters in the story are relatable to younger readers and help tie all the pieces of the tale together.
The story itself is the right length and interest level for a reader between the ages of six and eight, but the short activities that keep the story moving along are geared for a much younger population. Tasks like sorting fruit by color and dressing a character seem to be somewhat below the general skill level of the intended audience. This factor, combined with story length, could shorten the time a young reader spends with this app. From a technical standpoint, I'd also love to see the loading screen between each chapter disappear.
Some basic literacy features could be added to aid in encouraging reading skills — things like highlighted text and words read aloud when they are individually pressed. All in all, Hanna and Henri — The Robot has the makings of a good book app. It tells a simple and somewhat creative story and has some great interactive features that help the story progress. Additional tweaks and improvements would only make this app better for a wider audience of eager readers.