Van Gogh and the SunflowersSpring 2012 Mobile Apps
Van Gogh and the Sunflowers is an interactive picture book telling the story of one boy's interactions with the artist Vincent van Gogh, and how van Gogh came to paint his family and the famous "Sunflowers" painting. The plot is honest about van Gogh's inability to fit in with his contemporaries, teaching a valuable lesson about friendship and showing there is more to one's worth than can be measured in a moment.
The art in the book is reminiscent of van Gogh's own style and is visually appealing. At the list price of 99 cents, just the picture book, with its delightful story, would be a steal. However, the developers saw fit to offer a range of activities as well. Each painting, as it appears in the story, links to an art gallery where the user can view the real painting and a bit of background about it. Numerous minimally animated characters in the story can be edited in a painting activity, with a flexible range of colors and brushes, after which the child's changes remain on the page for as long as the story is active. Many of the characters are linked to puzzle games, wherein the underlying mechanics of the animation are illustrated as a system of gears that fall apart, waiting to be reassembled. The player is challenged to put the parts together (at varying levels of difficulty and increasing speed). Just doing the activities will absorb many hours, but ultimately it was the story and the beautiful artwork that kept these reviewers learning and coming back for more.