The Family Stage review The Anarchist’s Mobile Library – interactive digital adventure, in December 2020.
“With school very much stop and start around here at the moment, everything’s been a bit chaotic. Homeschooling has given us more time to try out some online activities with the munchkins, but catching up on work has meant limited time left to write about them, so this is a somewhat belated blog about an activity we had a got at during our last round of homeschooling.
The Anarchist’s Mobile Library is an online interactive experience for children, adapted from a live version that travelled the country during the first lockdown. There are audio and BSL versions, making it an incredibly accessible experience. We had a go at the audio version at a time when Quaver was bouncing off the walls, having been isolating for over a week, so Mummy didn’t have high hopes for getting her to engage with anything. But it worked wonders!
It’s a ‘choose your own adventure’ style experience in which children take on the role of Anarchist Librarian cadets as they are led on a quest by a feline cartoon character with a thirst for knowledge and adventure. There are six different worlds to explore, each with choices to make and adventures to act out, encouraging children to engage with literature and the world around them and putting them in control of the stories they create. Quaver threw herself into it with gusto, enthusiastically leading Mummy around the house to gather props and costumes for each new adventure. From in front of our computer screen we journeyed to an array of exciting lands, making decisions on everything from breakfast choices to whether skiing is better than travelling on a zipwire made from dental floss. Quaver loved it and insisted on testing out every adventure, even though she had qualified as an Anarchist Librarian after completing three.
Completing those three adventures unlocks access to the Anarchist Librarian’s Online Hangout, a secret section of the Tessa Bide website (which obviously we have not just told you about!) filled with more interactive activities to complete, including interactive wordsearches and printable colouring pages. Much to Quaver’s delight there is also an opportunity to order your very own Anarchist Librarian badge. (Tessa Bide Productions clearly know their market – Quaver has even been known to spend her own pocket money on souvenir badges!)
It’s a fantastic, highly engaging experience which will have youngsters using their imaginations and getting involved in the action instead of staring passively at a screen. Each section is short and self-contained, allowing you to break up the experience if you are tight on time, have a little one with a short attention span or just fancy a break for an emergency crumpet! The graphics are cute and the interface is simple enough for children to use as long as they can read some simple words. Most importantly (from Mummy’s perspective!) the script is witty, making it entertaining for the accompanying adults too. It was an absolute hit in our house and we thoroughly recommend it for anyone looking for something fun to entertain small people at home.”