Unless you’ve got an active imagination, it’s quite tough to pull off a tea party by your lonesome. Unfortunately that’s the predicament that a certain tea-loving arachnid finds herself in at the beginning of the storybook app, Miss Spider’s Tea Party. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that Miss Spider is, well, a spider. After all, spiders are known for preying on hapless bugs that have the misfortune of wandering into their sticky webs. Regardless, all the other creatures are avoiding Miss Spider’s shindig the same way that Rachel Maddow would avoid a Tea Party event featuring Sarah Palin. Alas, what’s a poor Spider to do?
Just like the time my brother plastered a huge sign on my kitchen wall that said, “Welcome to Jason Hidalgo’s Old-As-Dirt Birthday Party,” I always appreciate it when someone goes the extra mile. And going the extra mile is exactly what Callaway Digital Arts Inc. did with Miss Spider’s Tea Party. For the uninitiated, Callaway was also responsible for the excellent re-imagining of two classic children’s books in digital form: The Monster at the End of This Book and Another Monster at the End of This Book. Although Miss Spider’s Tea Party does not have the same Sesame Street pedigree of the aforementioned two books, that didn’t stop its creators from creating a well-crafted digital storybook. In many cases, digital publishers are content with simply serving up a storybook in app form and calling it a day. At least that’s what I’ve noticed while trying out many a storybook app through the years. Miss Spider’s Tea Party, however, is different. What it lacks in name cache, it makes up for by adding a ton of features.
Like many digital storybooks, Miss Spider’s Tea Party includes interactive elements in its pages to help stimulate interest among little ones. On top of that, though, Miss Spider’s Tea Party throws in six puzzles for readers to solve, as well as a card-matching mini-game. The app also comes with several digital coloring book pages — always a welcome feature in any storybook app. Now, usually, a digital storybook can stop here and I’d already consider it to be a pretty solid one. Miss Spider’s Tea Party further steps up, however, and also adds a 3D movie that tells the story in animated form. The story itself is a good one for kids given the lesson that it imparts to readers. In a world where it’s easy to shun others for being different, Miss Spider’s Tea Party shows the importance of judging folks not by what they look like from the outside bit how they are on the inside. (Obviously real bugs would be better served by ignoring the moral of this particular story but you know what I mean...)
With a solid story and wide range of extra features, Miss Spider’s Tea Party is certainly worthy of consideration for any parent looking for a digital storybook for their child. The fact that it gives kids lots of stuff to do should give this app more staying power than your typical digital storybook. Add the fact that the app is being offered for free for a limited time (well, at least as of this review) and there is really no reason for parents not to pick this up. It’s easily one of the bests digital storybook apps out there for iOS devices.
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