Urki Beyond the Forest, the first book in a series of adventure stories for older children by PixelMoon, tells the tale of a little troll on big journey. From the very beginning, strategic animations, illustrations and sound effects establish the mood and draw the reader into the story, bringing Urki’s world magically to life on the iPad. The format of the book is primarily text, without any spoken narration, so it is best suited for children who are good readers and enjoy longer stories.
Each page of the app contains subtle background music and visual or other sound effects designed to create an atmosphere filled with wonder and surprise. I really appreciate the level of care and imagination spent on the illustrations and effects. The art is really wonderful. And it contains just the right balance between animation and text, so that the effects enhance the story rather than detract from it. There is also a special game included in the story that is yet another way in which Pixel Moon attempts to draw children into Urki’s world. The child is given the option of playing the game or continuing on with the story.
The story itself is very well written. Author Monica Coca uses clever dialogue and humor to introduce us to a fabulous cast of endearing, mysterious and sometimes intimidating characters. Some of the lines are quite funny and when combined with just the right amount of mystery and the sometimes eerie effects, the end result is a story that is bound to captivate young imaginations and encourage them to keep reading.
With it’s rich language, witty dialogue and intriguing characters, Urki Beyond the Forest is bound to strike a chord with older elementary and middle school children who enjoy reading. The app might also be appreciated by younger children who like listening to chapter books read aloud. Without giving away plot, be prepared for the story to be continued, which is both good and bad if you’re like me and can’t wait to see what happens next. The good news is that there will be a new Urki story to look forward to, so be patient! And enjoy the journey.