We have a really exciting app review to share with you today! Bignificent (age 11) liked Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree from Star Toaster so much, in fact, that she asked if she could try writing the review. I’ve helped her edit it and added the links and such, but what follows is her opinion in her words. She even took some screenshots she wanted to share and drew her own version of the cover! I hope you enjoy it, and I’ll add a few of my own thoughts at the end.
Bignificent’s Thoughts About Orphs
Storybooks are fun to read, but imagine how great a storybook would be that you could not only read, but learn with and feel like you’re playing the whole time! As part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, our family was asked to review Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree, an interactive chapter book from Star Toaster.
Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree is a very good story that would work for both boys and girls. While this app is geared toward kids ages 7-13, I think that it is best suited for kids aged 7-10. I’m eleven, and while I found this story really fun, I found the accompanying learning activities a little too simple. My sister who is nine absolutely loved it! Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree is a prequel to The Treasure of Hightower. (Check out the Schoolhouse Review Crew’s reviews of it!). While The Treasure of Hightower is computer-based, Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree is an app that you can do on an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch running iOS 8.4 or later. It can be downloaded from the iTunes store.
Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree has seven main characters — Abba the flying squirrel, Hattah the hedgehog, Stot the white-footed mouse that becomes Stots, and four baby orphs. Abba and Hattah are from Hoggoh Hollow. All of the main characters are orphans, or orphs as the story calls them. All of the characters who live in Hoggoh Hollow have names that are also palindromes. They call themselves “backwards and forwards animals.”
One day Abba was out with his dad when there was a big storm. The dam broke and Hoggoh Hollow was flooded. Everyone was marked as missing, but Abba climbed into an oak tree and was not swept away by the flood. As the story progresses, he rescues Hattah, Stots, and the four baby orphs and pulls them up into the tree. Abba has to look for jobs in Stumptown so he can take care of Hattah, Stots, and the babies. For every job he does properly (with the help of you, the reader!), he earns gold stars which are spent to take care of the orphs.
As you read the story, you will see words underlined and colored in different colors.
If you click on the words, you go to job training, where you learn what you need to know to complete the jobs.
You might learn about flying squirrels or hedgehogs. Other times you learn to count by fives or hundreds. You might learn about weather or learn some sayings.
For instance, for one of Abba’s jobs, he needed to learn about different cloud types, so in the story it said something like, “He taught me about different cloud types so that I could work for him,” with the words “cloud types” underlined and a different color. In the screenshot above, you can see opportunities to learn about birds chattering and thunder as well as the difference between the words “fowl” and “foul.”
When you click on the underlined words, you are sent to a separate page where you either watch a video or read a page about that subject, like the page above about hedgehogs. Then later you answer questions about what you learned from that video or page and earn gold stars if you do it correctly.
You can use the gold stars to buy things that the orphs need or want.
For some of the jobs, you really have to pay attention. For example, one job requires you to watch paintings float across your screen and then you are asked to choose the painting you didn’t see.
This story is very entertaining, and I enjoyed reading it. I especially enjoyed how the story taught me things I didn’t know yet without it feeling like I was learning; it just seemed like fun! I can’t wait for the next part to come out!
Mommynificent’s Thoughts About Orphs
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first heard about Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree, but since we are all about reading around here, I was happy to give it a go. This app is so much more than a storybook though! It is a valuable supplement to just about any curriculum. Or you can use it like we did, as a fun vacation/summer reading program that sneakily keeps the kids reviewing and learning science, math, vocabulary, grammar, thinking skills, life skills, and the arts! 🙂 I especially appreciate that character is a major focus of this series and how it shows (rather than tells) that true leadership consists of serving others.
Connect with Star Toaster Online
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/startoaster4kids
- Twitter: @StarToaster
- Website: StarToaster.com
- Buy the app on iTunes: Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree
We, along with other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, received a free copy of this product in exchange for our honest review. You can see what my fellow Review Crew Members thought of it by checking out the Crew Blog Post for this product. I always love checking out everyone’s reviews as they always come up with creative ways I never would have thought of to use these things!