The Storm Whale

Long before Benji Davies incredible picture book ‘The storm whale’ got published in Holland I was already in love with his books and artwork. So when the Dutch publisher asked us to adapt his sweet story about a little boy and his whale friend into a playful app I was more than excited!

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The app was to be a companion to the “pocket” edition of the book specially made for ‘De Nationale Voorleesdagen’ which could be translated to ‘National Days of Reading To’. It needed to consist of two simple games, an animated short of the whole story and a song about our little heroes.

One game is an adaptation of the simple mechanics of ‘Simon says’ in which the player needs to replay a song by tapping the right cats, each pitched in their own tone. The other game sees Noi, the little boy, trying to sneak a bucket of fish past his sleeping father so he can feed the whale. But the cats are making a mess of the living room and lightning strikes thunder outside so the player has to stand still at the right moment, hoping father keeps dreaming.

De kleine walvis - Een liedje YouTube play

The song I wrote together with my good friends from Half Way Station. Well, in all honesty, they did most of the heavy lifting. Rikke and I laid out the basic structure and Elma wrapped it all up with her beautiful voice and some well placed steel drum parts. It is rare that I can keep listening to music I was part of again and again, but the magic these two can pull off keeps me coming back. Oh and there is a karaoke video for those who want to sing along!

The animation telling the whole story was kept rather simple because of the small budget but it was so much fun to do. We had Frank Groothof, of Dutch Sesame Street fame, read the story and he sells it so wonderfully. Together with the dulcet music of Half Way Station I really loved the end result.

Storm Whale Slider

Client: Luitingh Sijthoff & CPNB
Development: YipYip & Half Way Station
Released 2017

Related links

Website: Nationale Voorleesdagen
Video: Leerzame Apps in de praktijk (Dutch)
Review: Pret-letters (Dutch)