App of the Week :: Storm & Skye and The Secret of the Car Wash

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Storm & Skye and The Secret of the Car Wash is a magical audio-visual tale that lasts a little over 45 minutes!!!
The story starts out with the narrator that lets you know that Storm, a young boy, has recently moved to a new part of town with his mum, and his step-dad Baldwin. Storm isn’t too keen on this situation; having left all of his friends, and especially his dad back on the other side of town. This allows you into the mind of Storm and how he’s feeling with no friends and in a new area. Displaced. Baldwin, his step-dad, “can’t even get a bookcase put together” [as he’s been working on it for a couple of days, whereas his dad would have had it completed in hours]. So many kids can relate to this or may know/have friends that can so they are able to empathize.
There are small swirling circles that will pop up at various moments throughout the chapters and if you touch them either a sound will emerge or some type of animation will occur. If you miss doing this and keep looking to touch the right spot, have no fear! At the end of each chapter a blue box [?] will appear in the top right corner, and if touched will show you each spot that that makes a sound or animation.
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Storm is out running errands with his mum. She decides to swing by the carwash and this begins the journey. Storm is a little put back at this considering you stay in your car. (Not to mention the carwash is a little rundown and scary on its own – especially a young child that has never been through this type). The carwash is very busy as they pull last in line. Mum makes sure that Storm knows to stay buckled in and to keep all windows rolled up, not to get out, and all the safety rules needed while going through. *good.job*
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When they start to enter the carwash it’s very dark. Mum goes over all the various types of functions of each area and what they will encounter for the car to become clean. This springs to life very interesting images of the brushes, drying apparatuses, etc in young Storm’s mind (very imaginative and creative like kids are).
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While soap is being sprayed, Storm is shocked at what looks like a young boy running through the carwash while it’s in use! His mum seems to take this with a grain of salt and is chagrined that she must have missed the boy, along with what comes next: a shining bit of armor which happens to be a Knight sitting upon a horse (gleaming of course since it is a carwash)!
While they finish the carwash and roll out into the daylight they drive to the booth to pay. An older gentleman by the name of Walt who has a mustache curling at the ends along with a cigar that emits quite a bit of whirling smoke around him, mum remarks that her son saw a young boy inside. Walt says it must have been his niece. Hmmm first hint at what’s to come … ? Then before the window closes, Storm stammers out there was also a Knight and horse! Walt repeats and laughs a bit but his eyes don’t laugh and that tells Storm all he needs to know. There’s something up at “Walt’s CarWash”!

Once home Storm hurriedly helps mum unload. He’s ready to bolt back to the carwash. Mum has other plans as the house is in disarray and says “clean your room”. Ah the proverbial words of clean up to a child! Storm hastily pushes all items under his bed and pushes his still boxed up items in front (in order to hide) and then yells out he’s gone and off he goes on his bicycle, which by-the-way is a rousing new gear bike (and thus very fast).
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Storm makes his way back to Walt’s carwash. It seems deserted. Finally, before he is about to leave he notices out of the corner of his eye the ‘red door’. He parks his bike and is about to knock when “whoosh” the ‘red door’ is flung open. Storm is knocked down and on his back opening his eyes to find “the boy from inside the carwash” on top of him. Quick introductions are made: Storm meets “Skye” (which means Heaven). Storm explains to Skye what he heard and saw while going through the carwash. Yes, Skye says. Storm is all ears considering he has made a fast friend in Skye who can confirm he was correct in what he heard and what he saw; where you want to exhale with Storm at this revelation. He has a new ‘friend’ that is a bit quirky with silver shining on top of his head which are ‘silver goggles’. All of a sudden you hear a noise from the other side of the ‘red door’ and Skye says “oh I almost forgot” going to close the door. What was that? asks Storm. Oh, it’s the dragon informs Skye. A dragon says Storm?! Then almost immediately you hear it again and can feel the rumbling sound from the other side of the closed door.
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Skye then tiptoes around toward the front of the carwash with Storm in tow. Shh he tells Storm. Dragons don’t much like human voices. Then you hear it again only very loudly. That clams Storm up. Skye pushes the button for the door to roll up (just enough for them to crawl under). Off they go in the dark carwash innards when Storm asks “what’s that smell?”. Oh, it’s foul. Oh my, it’s the DRAGON!!! The duo runs toward a door that when the light is switched on it’s a small office that has a little desk when they hear a noise behind them. The horse and wait what’s that…it’s the Knight perched up on the horse! He goes to dismount and haphazardly falls upon his rump with his armored hat twisted around backwards. Storm and Skye help the Knight right his helmet and get up. He draws his sword and starts fighting one of the carwash poles that holds rags and such for cleaning. It’s Storm that works up the courage to let the Knight know that’s not exactly the dragon. As soon as this happens you hear the roar of the dragon and Storm and Skye turn to come face-to-face with the dragon perched atop the housing in the wash. Oh my! Will the Knight come to their rescue? Not exactly they realize, for when they look back all that is left of the horse and Knight is a pile of horse dung! Oops!

It’s at this pivotal moment that a transformation of sorts happens to Storm. He hears his dad speaking to him: When you’re afraid to do something, that’s when you should do it anyway” and “If you ever come across a monster, that’s when you should laugh at it really hard”. This helps Storm muster up the courage and be brave in order to do what is needed. Using words to do his best to defeat the dragon [which takes that moment to lunge toward Storm and Skye] … who grabs Storm and the pair heads for the “red door”.
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Storm and Skye make it out of the carwash. It’s at this moment that Skye says “Uncle Walt must never know or I won’t be allowed to come back. A light bulb goes off with Storm and he asks: “You’re a girl?” Skye replies “Yes, but really I’m a boy.” It’s summed up simply by Storm with an “okay”.
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Skye pulls out a pink bike after being asked if she has one. By-the-way according to Skye, pink is the stupidest color ever made. Her bike is fully pink even with pink beads in the wheel spokes. She’s seven and so is Storm. Fast friends regardless of gender, bike color, or anything. They are each other’s secret keeper of dragons, knights, and whatever else lays on the other side of the ‘red door’. Off they go on their bikes with Storm showing his prowess on his ‘fast bike’ to which he turns back to see Skye very far in the distance when he reaches his street. Come to find out, Skye lives right down the road around the block. She’s on the third floor #72 to which Storm relates he doesn’t even have a second floor and just #6.

There’s a knock on the window and it’s Baldwin proudly and happily informing Storm he has finished the bookcase! Skye observes that Storm has a very happy dad which Storm lets her know that’s his step-dad. Oh, you have two dads … I only have one and one mum but two brothers (the twins). Storm lets Skye know his dad lives farther away on the other side of town in a much nicer home and that they had a hamster once but it died. No pets for Skye since her mother is allergic (to everything).

Lots of little things that my kids keep and kept yammering about saying they feel will play roles in upcoming adventures of Storm and Skye. These “little things” and the story/film as a whole, created a nice dialogue with my kids when we completed it.
Skye wheels off when Baldwin once again knocks on the window to let Storm know that supper is ready. Skye states she should go as well, only they’re probably having broccoli. Off she peddles down the road with Storm thinking she is the coolest girl he has EVER met! Skye yells out that she’ll see him around when the last thing Storm notices is the silver shining and reflecting in her hair.
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What a courageous story. What an imaginative story. What an immediate and strong bond that formed. No barriers, no judgments. Just facing fears and gender [sic identity] with no worries about any of it. So what if you’re a boy or a girl. Why can’t you be friends? Why does a girl have to wear pink or have bows in her hair? Why must she play with princesses instead of rescuing herself or a friend? From the minds of children and the simple way they see the world and fight their monsters. Where sometimes they are able to bond with another and help each other realize that it’s not as bad as it seems to be in their own mind when spoken aloud by another with a different perspective. It’s never more true than when in a new place with no expectations. We cannot wait to see what comes next for Storm and Skye and where their creativity and imagination will take them next. From Uncle Walt; Storm’s dad (perhaps); Storm’s step-dad, Baldwin; Storm’s mum; and I’m sure a showing of Skye’s family, especially the twins, and her very allergic mum. This summed up nicely a message of facing your fears and doing so with your words not weapons ~ standing up for yourself, perhaps with a [new] friend that has your back and is in your corner. So simple. So brilliantly executed.

While listening to the story, you’re able to exit and come back to where you were or choose chapters (or even replay the same one or go to the main menu). It’s not overly digitized with animations and things to touch, which in my opinion can be overwhelming for kids. It is narrated at a great pace and very clearly (I agree with Digimoo Studios recommendation on utilizing headphones in order to focus on the story and immerse within to hear all the little things that allows your imagination to run wild just as it would and will in real life in various situations). I wanted to point out that I love that the content is broken into chapters (nine to be exact at just about or tad over five minutes each) just as you would have for this age group in real “chapter” books or eBook format. This is a great “storvie” [what we are calling it; as it is a mix of a storybook and movie – hence no text/read to me or read myself options as it is fully narrated] for anytime, including but not limited as a bedtime story perhaps a chapter a night and/or listening together as a family, a [long] car ride or an appointment while waiting. We absolutely adored it! I will put in that one of my kids really wanted the words as they prefer to read themselves and why the “storvie” name was introduced. It was brought to my attention if they were unable to read it then they would at least prefer it played as a movie non-stop with a pause feature. My other child enjoyed it this way and seemed to comprehend it easier with the break between chapters and choosing to continue when he was ready and after asking questions about the chapter. In the end, however, they both agreed it was different, very neat, and they were surprised about a lot of things that happened and couldn’t wait for the next installment (my word) and hoped that would happen sooner rather later.

Way to go Digimoo Studios for making a top-notch “storvie” made for an age group that has been up until now lacking and needing the quality and content found in Storm and Syke Magical Adventures available on iDevices and Android. It’s recommended for ages 5 and up, however, I see it based on being a “storvie” more suitable for the “lacking age group” in my words for children aged 7++ (7 to 10) again, in my opinion.

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