Hildegard Sings App

Review by Miranda West

NYC-based developers One Hundred Robots have already wowed us with digital renditions of Cinderella and The Night Before Christmas. Now, for their third book app they have reworked Thomas Wharton’s 1991 children’s book, Hildegard Sings.

Hildegard Rhineheffer is a flamboyant, loveable hippo who dreams of becoming an opera star. When the lead in the latest opera is ill, she finally gets her big break and must take centre stage. But as opening night looms, quelle horreur, she loses her voice in dramatic fashion.

The reader must help Hildegard overcome her stage fright and realise her ambition of stardom by feeding her, helping her to try on silly hats, or popping bubbles in her relaxing bath. There are plenty of other interactive features including pulling a chord to raise the stage curtain, and helpful guidance is given by the ‘hippo hand’ icon.

The watercolour illustrations are full of life and Hildegard is an endearing character, full of dreams, self-doubts and anxieties. This is a charming app and it’s encouraging to see some quality, out-of-print books revived and given a new lease of life for today’s young readers.

The target age is 3+ and once the story has been read – or listened to – the extra features offer a little more playtime. Children can chose from a game of Snap or further reading as they learn about Hildegard’s Famous Roles in other opera classics.

Once again One Hundred Robots have produced a fun, interactive book app that combines the best functionality of Apple’s devices with imaginative storytelling for young readers.

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