Magic Town is an iPad virtual reading world

We’re big fans of Mindshapes. The company started off making a series of fun, creative apps for children, but has recently shifted its focus. In May it launched Magic Town, a web-based virtual world based around reading and picture-books.

Now there’s an app for that, on iPad. It’s a fully-working version of the website too, rather than a cut-down spin-off. As online, it involves exploring a cartoon world looking for stories to read.

More than 30 are available at launch, with 40 more coming by the end of June, and then 15 more every month after that. Mindshapes has been working with publishers like Penguin, Hachette and Simon & Schuster to bring their picture-books to Magic Town, but there are also new stories.

The stories themselves look really good: they’re animated, with voice narration so that your children can choose to be read to, or read themselves. A few are free, but to get the most out of Magic Town, you pay a £7.99 monthly subscription – which includes access to all the stories.

There are quite a few companies trying this sort of thing: we’ve covered Farfaria, Storypanda, DemiBooks StoryTime and iReading HD this year already. We sense that more are coming.

But Magic Town is really well done: £7.99 seems like a lot to pay every month – although opting for the £49.99 annual subscription will save you money – but if the quality levels stay high, it may well be worth it.

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