Four little corners - An interactive storybook app about friendship

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Four little corners - An interactive storybook app about friendship App Poster Image
Simple story about geometric shapes encourages inclusion.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about struggling through a problem and taking another's perspective before arriving at a workable solution. This is a great example of persevering despite setbacks or when the best solution isn't immediately obvious, and the main takeaway message is one of friendship, acceptance, and empathy. Both of these important messages in Four Little Corners - An interactive storybook app about friends will likely fly right over kids' heads without explicit input from parents, however.

Ease of Play

Navigation involves simply tapping around the screen to advance the story. 

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

A small icon advertises additional apps from the same developer; a parent gate protects access (reading numbers' names). Once through the gate, there are ads and links to the developer's social-networking sites.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Four Little Corners - An interactive storybook app about friendship is a short story about a bunch of circles and one lone square. The story's moral is that the square shouldn't have to change itself to fit in and play with its friends, the circles. The story is read aloud for early or non-readers, and kids can tap around the screen to interact with the circles and square. At the end of the story, users must answer whether they liked the app and are then asked to provide details about why or why not. The whole story is available in English, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. For information on the kinds of information collected and shared, read the app's privacy policy.

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What's it about?

FOUR LITTLE CORNERS  - AN INTERACTIVE STORYBOOK APP ABOUT FRIENDS is a story with a message. One square plays happily with a bunch of circles. When the circles are called to go inside, the square is the only one who can't get through the circle-shaped door. Square tries various things to change its shape, and the circles suggest that square cut off its corners. Finally, they realize that the best solution is to cut the door into a square so that Square and the circles can fit -- and everyone plays together happily. Each page has a small amount of text, which is read aloud, and it has a few interactive features. A For Parents section offers some guiding questions parents can use along the way, and the text can be read in a variety of languages.

Is it any good?

With crisp, simple visuals, this digital story delivers a nice message of tolerance, acceptance, and the importance of being yourself. Going through it is a pleasant experience: The text is minimal and straightforward, the animations are simple, and the soundtrack captures the different moods at each stage of the story. Though there's certainly a worthy message, kids may need additional input and guidance to ensure that the message does not simply fly over their heads. Each page has some potential for interaction, though kids' ability to affect the action on the screen is quite limited and sometimes even distracting. Because the story is so short and has only limited interactive features, it doesn't have much room to grow and may not have staying power; more reading features -- highlighted words, a tap-and-read feature -- would enhance its value for emerging readers. The usefulness and appeal of this app could depend on how much parents want to encourage reading the story to use it as a launching pad for some important family discussions.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how it's different to read a book made of paper rather than a book in an app. What's the same? What's different?

  • Talk about the story's underlying message. Why was cutting the door the best solution? How did that change the rules about who could enter the house?

  • What did you think about the background music? How did it contribute to the overall feel of the story? Did it help you understand the mood better? Why, or why not?

  • Read the For Parents guide in the app's settings menu for more discussion ideas.

App details

Themes & Topics

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