Children’s Stories – FarFaria offers a new and original take on storybooks for children on the iPad. It provides access to a large and ever-growing selection of stories for young children at a rate of $3.99 per month.
I think the concept for this app is very good one, but after spending some time with it I find the execution hugely disappointing.
The app provides access to a large and continually expanding collection of stories for children aged 2-9. It will have 100 stories in it by the middle of next week and will continue to release at least three new stories per week from there onwards.
The app itself is free and lets you try it for free for 30 days, after which you need to subscribe at $3.99 per month.
Here’s a slice of its App Store description:
Welcome parents and young explorers! You have discovered FarFaria, a magical place where stories live…where your child’s perfect story awaits. Discover a world of fantasies and fables! Stories of whimsy, mischief, and mystery! Explore this exciting world, this not-so-far away place, FarFaria.
And some of its notable features:
☆ New, engaging stories added every week.
☆ Unlimited access to a library of stories for less than the cost of one new book.
☆ Easy access to tons of stories—even when you’re offline.
☆ No advertising. No hidden fees.
☆ Keeps the kids entertained anywhere—restaurant, traveling, or running errands.
By providing unlimited access to delightful stories, FarFaria not only stimulates an interest in reading but also encourages families to spend quality time reading together.
The app opens to a small selection of featured and latest added stories. A single tap opens any of them that look good to you. Tapping See the World in the bottom nav bar takes you out to a view of various ‘Lands’ which offer categories of stories. These include: Animal Kingdom, Bedtime Stories, Adventure Land, Classics Grove, Fable Hills, and GoodLand (stories that emphasize lessons / moral of the story).
— The $3.99 per month subscription model is very appealing. It’s less than the price of many popular single storybook apps for the iPad. The idea of having a large collection of good stories that is continually being added to is a winner. Having the first 30 days free is a very nice bonus too.
— Discovering stories with the categories organized into lands round the world is a nice idea.
— There’s a lot of newer content among the stories in the app – not just old standards.
— You can add stories to Favorites, and send feedback to the publishers.
— The vast majority of the stories are very short – around 5-6 landscape pages. This may be fine for very young children, but kids who are between 7-9 are going to want a little more I think.
— Speaking of landscape pages, they’re really not supported much at all within the app. You get two pages at a time in landscape mode – and they look far from great.
— Some of the books offer very minimal content, to put it mildly. Animals of Africa, for instance, has literally one animal and one word per page. The same goes for the Things That Go title. Honestly, these two titles look no so much created for 3 year olds as created by 3 year olds. The screencaps just below are everything that’s on the page.
— There are no interactive elements in any of the stories. Nothing to tap on and see an animation. No animations on any of the pages. Nothing that appears if you tap an area of the page. The pages are 100% static. My experience with my daughter (who is now 9 but has grown up with printed books and books on the iPad and iOS) is that interactive elements are a huge part of what maintains and heightens her interest in a story.
— And there are no sounds at all in the stories. None at all.
— There’s no option to have the stories read to you. This is great for when you want to read to your children or have them read to you – but to not have the option to have them read to you (preferably by talented narrators) is a big miss in my view.
I like the idea of FarFaria. A lot. And if you have very young children and just want to read calmly and quietly to them, this may well be a great app for you. The pricing model is certainly a real winner.
But … this really doesn’t feel much like an iPad app at all – with no interactive elements at all, no sounds even, no option to have stories read aloud. Also, as mentioned above, some of the ‘storybooks’ look like they took all of 10 minutes to put together. As the app is now I can’t see myself keeping it around beyond the 30 day free period – and it may not last that long as my daughter expects a lot more from iPad storybooks.
Here’s an App Store link for Children’s Stories – FarFaria; it’s a free app with the subscription model detailed above.