I had moved three times by the time I was eight, so I totally understand how it feels to be a strange kid in a strange land, a topic that is explored in a lovely new app for both iOS and Android users.
Even kids like my own who have never had to be “the new kid” will enjoy interacting with Zoe’s Green Planet, a storybook which covers everything from the importance of accepting people who are different, to having to say goodbye to a good friend. It’s a story that is both sweet and out of this world.
It tells the story of a verdant girl named Zoe who lives with her family on a green planet. No, I don’t mean one that recycles and repurposes everything, but one in which everyone and everything is “green.”
Over the course of sixteen interactive pages, we meet the Takino family who has rocketed to this green world from their own Red Planet. And, yes, they are completely and totally red. And while being so obviously different isn’t always easy for little Maho Takino, Zoe shows her much kindness and offers her friendship from the start.
What makes this app so appealing, besides the story itself, is the illustration style and the fun interactive features. Using a cool paper-mache style, illustrator Matt Roussel achieves a subtle, yet effective, 3D look, so even pages colored with nothing but green are visually interesting.
Along with lots of little touch-screen surprises, there are also five interactive games that young kids will enjoy playing, from sorting vegetables by size, to guiding a rocket around planets and asteroids.
This would make a great story for kids who are moving to a new (and, to them, “strange”) town, or if you just want to share a story about being welcoming new kids in the classroom. It even opens up the topic of saying goodbye to friends who move away which is probably a part of any child’s life at some point.
Now the cost of this interactive story is $2.99 which, in the land of $.99 apps, may seem a bit high. Though for me, its unique look, availability for both iOS and Android, and future plans to release even more stories featuring Zoe and her pals make it all worth a bit of green. And it’s still less than a Kindle book. -Christina
Download Zoe’s Green Planet from Square Igloo for both iOS and Android for $2.99.