Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Review: FarFaria Book App for Kids

This App Review of FarFaria is a LONG time coming.

Is an read-to-me or read-to-myself app. It has over 800 stories and with 5 new stories added each week.  The free version of the app allows for 1 free story a day. The full version allows for unlimited stories starting at $4.99 a month.

Here is how the app works. You bring it up and see this fun map. The home page lets you search for something specific.  You can pick from Recently Read, New, Book Club Activity, 2014 Most Popular, New Adventures, and Winter Fun. You can swipe through these options or hit explore. Which was by far my 5 year old's favorite way to find a story.

When you hit explore it takes you to the map. You pick an island and all the books that would be from that island are then listed on a menu. Mt. Make Believe and  Fairy Tale Falls are two favorites.

See those great letters on this picture. That is a code for parents to help pick reading levels for our kids.  Information on this is listed under the Parents section. A through D are kindergarten levels, PK is preschool.

When you pick a book you can pick from Auto Play (which turns the pages too), Read to Me, or Read to Myself.  I encouraged the Auto Play in the beginning. The weren't always sure when to hit the screen to turn the page and they would tap too many times and end up turning multiple pages. The words also light up while it is reading to you in certain books.

After you finish the book you will see this screen.

It gives you suggestions based on the story you just finished. It gave us some different suggestions after we finish our stories. "Go Car Go" was suggested after we read "How Are You?" They were same reading level.  Monster Machines was suggested after "Go Car Go" which makes sense, both car oriented stories.

Little Man (3) like the app as much as Little Miss (5). His favorite was Monster Trucks - for obvious reasons if you knew him.  His favorite part of this book was when the narrator read "The --- sounds like this." and then the sound of that truck was played.

Okay now as a parent -

My kids really like the app. I liked the readers the company used. They were great readers. Many of the stories seemed to have Anime influences on the illustrations which bothers me, but my kids didn't mind.

The company states that the app provides "The Perfect Story Time Experience". As a parent that limits screen time - computer, tablet and phones (my kids get up to 15 minutes a day) - this did not provide the perfect story time experience. For my big one it was good that words were highlighted as they were read, however, the words are small and hard to see I could tell she wasn't look at the words at all.

The company also says that encourages families to read together. The app will auto play the stories. I will be honest, we used the app while I was trying to get meals on the table. They took turns picking the story and letting the app read to them. I was not involved in the reading at all.

The company states that the app encourages children to read stories they might not have otherwise. This is true. My kids loved the suggested stories feature. They used that more than they used the explore or search menus.

The company states that they want to help children build a love for reading. I do believe this app would achieve that. I am not a far judge of this goal. My kids are the kids who need to be limited at the library to 5 books or they would be coming home with 30. These kids have over 150 books in their personal library. We have a slight obsession with reading.

Like I said before the free app allows for 1 story a day.  To be honest, that would have frustrated the daylights out of my kids. They would have had to agree on a story or only one of them would get to pick a day. With the stories they liked to pick - the app would be used for about 3 to 5 minutes for the entire day. With the full version (which we were given a 6 months subscription for review the app) allows for unlimited stories.  $4.99 a month for full access is more than I would be willing to pay. I might consider purchasing the app if it was an annual subscription.  I am not sure I would be willing to pay more than $15 for the full year.

If I were to rate this app 1 to 5 stars. I would give it 3.5. I liked that my book worms had additional options than me sitting there reading to them, but that is not what the company is encouraging. I liked that the kids could work the app themselves and find stories that interested them. I liked the readers. I didn't like the illustrations of many of the stories and I think it is expensive.

I did mention it, but I would like to say it one more time. We were given a 6 month subscription to FarFaria in exchange for a review. The opinions of this review are 100% Little Mister, Little Miss and mine.

If you would like to get the app you can download it from The App Store, Google Play or their website

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