Thursday, April 26, 2018

Planet 316 Story Bible and App (Homeschool Review Crew)

My children have no idea what it is like to live in a world without the internet in your pocket.  It seems half of my conversations with the kids start out, "You know, back when I was your age, we didn't have..." I was older than Jude when we got our first computer; the tower was the size of a preschooler, and we had those 5 1/4 inch square disks that you handled with the utmost care.  (I think at first we weren't even allowed to handle them - if something needed to be saved onto a disk, my parents had to do it for us.) We had a family Bible that we also needed to ask for assistance with, and only to look up passages assigned for homework. Imagine their confusion when they learned that 3D was cutting edge technology, too.  Jude's observation: "Wow, Mom, you must have lived in the Dark Ages or something." Thanks, kid. We were given the opportunity to review the Planet 316 Story Bible and its companion Planet 316 Story Bible App, complete with augmented reality technology.  The concept of this package, produced by Planet 316 and Worthy Kids/Ideals, blew me away.  Their response? "Wow, it's just like Pokemon Go!"  I suppose if I am going to be studying a Bible, I might as well be humble, right?

Planet 316 Story Bible

This collection of over 100 Bible stories retells the highlights of that enormous family Bible in a portable and accurate but child-friendly story format. It's a perfect introduction to the Bible for young children.  Most of the stories are contained within a two-page spread, but generally, the illustrations seem to dictate the length.  For example, the story of Jacob's ladder is only actually one page of text and flows into the second page with illustrations.

The text of the story of Moses would easily fit across two pages.  However, instead of being condensed on a similar form, is two two-page spreads to allow for the pictures to tell the story as much as the words do.

The illustrations are simple, which makes them perfect for the recommended 4- to 7-year-old group.  I would recommend it for even younger preschoolers as a bedtime read-aloud.  The reading portion would be completed before a child loses interest in listening; the pictures draw them in but are not distracting.  The figures are slightly caricature-ish, but not inappropriately so; they have a child-like quality to them that I really appreciate.  They follow classic illustration techniques with good guys having big, expressive eyes and the less-good ones having smaller, beadier ones.

Color plays an important role as well.  The background of Sodom and Gomorrah glows with its destruction and contrasts with the clear, Eden-like beauty of Mt. Moriah surrounding Abraham and Isaac.

Even without the AR App, I think this would make a fantastic gift for any child.

 Planet 316 Story Bible App

I have to admit, I thought this was clever. I was afraid it would be gimmicky, and just be a way to sell a new Bible. As just a book, it compares evenly to the storybook Bible we already had.  The Augmented-Reality enabling app (free/no in-app purchase on both App Store/Apple and Google Play/Android) is what makes this Bible stand out. With the app, the story "jumps out" into 3D (no silly glasses required), and is accompanied by animation and audio.

Damien decided we needed to vlog a review.  I agreed because photos truly do not do this interactive feature justice.

The interactivity is well done, because the experience is not limited to, "Look! The pictures pop out." Tapping on the pictures adds background music, animation, and dialogue.  I appreciate how some of the animations added details to the story, while others added personality.  As I said, the Bible alone would make a good "short story" read, but the app turned it into a lively experience.

I have to admit, this is one of the most fun reviews I have done in quite some time. I know I kept taking the Bible back and checking stories "so I could write the review," and I know Damien is looking forward to the review being done so I stop asking for it.  Had anybody asked me all those years ago if there'd be a pocket-sized computer to bring the Bible to life (no floppies required!), I would have thought them crazy.  I would argue this review is proof that God sees a much bigger picture and has a terrific sense of humor!

60 Crew families have been reading and playing with this Bible. Check out their reviews by clicking the banner below.

Planet 316 Story Bible and Bible App {Planet 316 Reviews}

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