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Reviews — 19 January 2012

Our kids love books. They have piles of them in their bedrooms, they suck-up catalogues, brochures and leaflets like a pair of famished anteaters and if it’s not being looked at it’s being listened to – story CDs are also a big must. However, we had never ventured into story Apps until Louise at Rock and Roll Baby World enticed us to review Rockford’s Rock Opera, promising an adventure not to be forgotten.

Canine capers: Rockford of Rockford's Rock Opera

Rockford: not to be sniffed at


Who is this Rockford? And what is he doing on my iPhone?

I was surprised to discover that Rockford has been doing the rounds for the last few years. He is already a hit on the net, has had a stage show, video game and is even in talks to have his own film. A move into the world of the App (or should that be yApp?) seems only natural for such a popular pooch.

So what, you may ask, makes Rockford so popular?

Well, as you watch the Rock Opera you realise there’s more to this story than the superb graphics, animation and songs (more of that later). Rockford’s Rock Opera has all the appeal of a Disney classic, yet its messages are far more profound. Branded an ecological musical it examines the evolution and extinction of animals and plants. However, it does not end there. Rockford’s Rock Opera also conveys the importance of trust and forgiveness.

Does that all sound a bit dry for a kids’ story?

You’d think so but team Sweetapple, the self-produced and financed duo behind Rockford’s Rock Opera, have employed clever tactics to appeal to kids. First, you have the loveable Rockford, a pooch who accidently gets a Cocklebur Ick (yes, you read that right) stuck to his bottom. Then there’s his owner, a boy called Moog, whose love for Rockford leads to a frantic race with ‘The Registrar’ to prevent Canine extinction.

Colonel Kitchener Utensil: just one of the characters in Rockford's Rock Opera

Colonel Kitchener Utensil: a leggy Dectopus


Secondly, the story rolls out alongside magnificent graphics and animation. Not being an App expert, I was expecting something pretty ‘flat’. However, the App has a cinematic quality which wows the audience. For example, the opening scene with Moog in Battersea Park reminded me of graphics used in The Polar Express.

Lastly, the soundtrack gives ‘good sway!’ Not at all cheesy, the songs, liberally peppered throughout the 4 parts, reference The Beatles, The Flaming Lips and even The Streets. Instantly likeable, it’s easy to imagine them being performed on the big stage. All this and you’ve got the dulcet tones of Steve Punt narrating and appearing throughout.

Unsurprisingly parents aren’t the only ones to see the benefits of hanging with Rockford. Thousands of teachers worldwide are now planning lessons around the Opera’s messages. If you would like to have some App-y times with Rockford you can download the first part of the story for free. The other 3 parts can be downloaded from the Apple store and can be viewed on iPhone, iPad and iTouch.

With thanks to Louise Harris at Rock and Roll Baby World for the review copies.


Review: Rockfords Rock Opera (App) - Blogged

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