When I was a kid and had bad days, my mother would make sure to read a certain book before I went to sleep. It was called Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst. It’s the story of a boy – Alexander – who just seems to have woken up on the wrong side of the bed, and his realization that even people in Australia have bad days. I memorized the words of the story and would repeat them to myself whenever I found myself having a bad day.
The UnStealer is almost like the 21st century version of Alexander and his very bad day. It’s a storybook app with an uplifting message and open-ended interactivity created by Josh and Donna Wilson of The Happy Dandelion, with artful visual appeal and literary treats – some in the form of alliteration and onomatopoeic phrases. The pages are filled with user-driven interactivity that requires not only tapping and swiping, but also shaking and tilting. Earlier this year, the app even earned a Kirkus star – that’s how impressive it is.
Contrary to what the title might lead you to believe, the UnStealer isn’t someone who is fundamentally against stealing. He’s a mustachioed shadow that sneaks in during the most uncertain of times, and he’ll steal the “un” right out from under you. It doesn’t matter how big or small the un is – whether it’s an unfriendly dog or an unhappy birthday girl, the UnStealer makes sure to grab that “un” away. Without the “uns” that are making for a very unhappy day, Chompy (the dog) and Melody (the girl) realize that they don’t have to be un-anything.
There’s no option to choose for voice narration which makes it an awesome storybook app to read with pre-readers or early readers. The limitless interactivity keeps younger children engaged, and older kiddos can also join in the fun because the message of the book is ageless. Phonetically speaking, the vocabulary is hilarious but still clear and understandable for all ages. My two kiddos – ages 6 and 4 – love reading this story and then trying to think of “un” words that they want the UnStealer to take away.
At $3.99 the download might seem a little pricey but it’s worth it. With the positive message of the story, the great literary content, and amazing art work, it’s an unbeatable addition to any storybook app library. (Check out The Happy Dandelion site for more great apps, including the newest title Little Lamb in Amsterdam)