“The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross” is a carefully crafted mix between a folk tale, a graphic storybook, and an app that could inspire a whole new way of storytelling.
It’s the first story from Moving Tales and fortunately it won’t be the last. The company plans to release more tales from around the world and if they’re anything like this first app, they have a prosperous future ahead of them.
After all, Pedlar Lady is an extremely well written tale that’s beautifully animated, well illustrated, and totally and completely dynamic. It’s something you could gladly share with your kids, but also a story that’s worthy of the attention of adults as well. More than that, this is a work that’s at the forefront of a new kind of cinematic literature that may very well become all the rage in electronic storytelling.
When you first open the app you’re taken to the title page of the story. The information bubble on the top left hand corner tells you how to turn narration on and off, switch the narrators language from English to Spanish, and everything else you need to know (which isn’t much) in order to navigate The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross.
Once you delve into the actual story, text flies onto the page in swirls and a narrator dives into the story in a warm, friendly voice with a subtle soundtrack and sound effects in the background. Each page is carefully illustrated with enticing animation that brings the story to life, but not in a way that hits you over the head with sensation overload.
Instead, everything about Pedlar Lady is tasteful. The writing itself is surprisingly poetic, using words and phrases like “ineluctably” and “succumbed to her fatigue,” but none of this sophisticated language is enough to turn kids away from the work. Moving Tales has done a great job of making this a universal tale accessible for all.
Turning the page within The Pedlar Lady is like any other ebook these days. You flick the lower right hand corner and see an animated page turn. What’s nice about Pedlar Lady though, is that even though there aren’t page numbers the app doesn’t let you turn multiple pages at once. With this you’ll always keep your place and stay on track.
While $4.99 might feel steep for something you might only interact with once or twice, when you compare the price of Pedlar Lady to the price of your typical children’s book, this is certainly in range. There’s no doubt that Moving Tales put a lot work into turning a story into a full fledged experience, and they’ve certainly achieved that end.
I couldn’t find anything that felt wrong or awkward in Pedlar Lady, but they might have benefited from adding a bookmark in case something interrupts the story in medias res, especially if it’s a kid who is reading the story. Moving Tales could have also benefited from building a store for collecting all the tales that are released, putting them on one shelf as they release as opposed to creating a bunch of separate apps. They could also benefit from push notifications that inform readers when new stories have been published, but these are ideas.
More than any of that, I look forward to the day when apps like this are created for long form literature to create something new, refreshing, and sophisticated in a world where storytelling meets cinema.
Bottom Line: Pedlar Lady is a wonderfully dynamic storytelling experience that’s timeless and totally engaging. This could be the beginning of a new kind of literature.