Put Me in the Story (iPad) Review
- The narration is quite good.
- App is free and comes with a free story
Not so much?
- Additional stories are premium content - $4.99/each
- The personalization is pretty unimpressive and isn't implemented well.
As a storybook application, Put Me in the Story is a nice children’s iPad app. The books, even at a premium, are nicely illustrated and the read-to-me narration quite good. The personalization, however, is clunky and isn’t nearly as impressive as other interactive storybook applications.
When I was young, I remember my parents ordering me personalized children’s books where I was the main character. It was a customized story that included people and places that were familiar to me. I still have a few of them today and have shared them with my kids. “Daddy, how did you get in the story?” they asked, their eyes aglow with wonder. Stories like those – way back when – were probably literally hand-typed on the page, but today, things are a little easier, and a lot more digital. Put Me in the Story, is a children’s storybook application for the iPad that also aims to provide a similar, personalized, experience to mine from 30 years ago.
Put Me in the Story is a free app for the iPad. It comes with one free story, The Night Night Book. There are also 3 additional stories that can be purchased for a cost of $4.99 each, Santa Is Coming To My House, Dream Big Little Pig!, and If I Could Keep You Little.
The free story, is short but gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect with the premium content. While the stories themselves are enjoyable, and the voice narration is well-done, the actual customized “me” part of the app is seriously lacking. It doesn’t feel all that well implemented — especially when compared to other apps that offer better personalization and interactivity.
At the beginning of each book, you can choose who the special recipient is, who it is from (Mommy or Daddy, for example), and add a photo of your child, too. Because of the inclusion of the photograph, I was half expecting to see the photo reused throughout the story to replace a main character’s face, but to my disappointment, the photo of your child is only used on a personalized “This book if from…” page before the story begins.
Also disappointing was the inclusion of your child’s name in the story. While the text typically matched the font in the tale, the placement was often disjointed and not aligned correctly. Maybe I’m spoiled after trying the amazing JibJab app for iPad, which uses your child’s photo very liberally throughout the story, as well as their written name.
While you can personlize a story, you can also have the stories read back to you as they were originally written. However, if you are customizing a story with Put Me in the Story, there is also no option to have it read back to you. From a technical standpoint, I understand that decision, as the narration would have to somehow read the specified name in the personalized spots, and developing technology to do that for this application seems like an overkill. As an alternative, it would have been nice if the application allowed you to record your child’s name, to then have it injected into the story’s read-to-you narration. I know that a recorded voice from a parent, or even spoken from the kids themselves, might not mesh well with the professionally-read story, but it also might be funny and enjoyable to kids.
Young kids are all about ego, and my 3 and 5-year-olds are no exception. So when they’re expecting to be in the story, and their involvement isn’t all that, well… involved, the experience ends up not being all that much fun. There was also a surprising lack of things to interact with using the iPad’s touch screen.
If you set your expectations a little lower, with Put Me in the Story, and use the app to have the stories simply read to you, without the customized story, it’s a rather nice application. The tales are cute, the illustrations are nice and detailed, and the voice narratives are well done.
However, when your title IS Put Me in the Story, and the “me” part isn’t all that impressive, you shouldn’t have to settle for second-best.
As I mentioned earlier, Put Me in the Story is available for free and comes with a free story. Having experienced other children’s apps that offer a better story personalization, I wouldn’t recommend paying for the premium content unless you and your kids really enjoyed the free story. Give it a shot and let me know if I’m being unreasonable. Maybe I’m just expecting too much, but compared to a lot of other iPad apps, Put Me in the Story isn’t as good.