Tangled: Storybook Deluxe

 

For Tangled geeks and little girls who love princesses, Tangled: Deluxe Storybook┬áis a work of art. The pictures are fabulous, and the page turning is unique. For amorous fans of Tangled, it is especially exciting to find clips from the movie on one or two pages, and to hear the storybook’s dialogue replayed with the original movie’s audio. The narration is often backed by simple sound effects and music that add to the feeling of the moment, and Pascal hangs out on a few pages, eating quotation marks, bouncing from the top of the page by his tongue and the like. Although the storybook itself is no more than a book with little interactive features, the app does contain a few coloring pages and puzzles which can be endlessly entertaining for the very young.

Nevertheless, I was disappointed to find that there was no interactivity with the narration, and that it could only be turned off from the main menu. There were only a few scattered interactions, and so I was left puzzling over the remaining pages tapping hopefully on the pictures. The recording device’s buttons were slow to react and created confusion while being used, and if I were a preschooler, I would have been completely lost when trying to navigate a few portions of the app.

Despite these shortcomings, the app is overall nicely done, and the artwork is high quality and flattering to the app. The movie clips play nicely with just a tap, and while the story was not overly simplified, it was apparent that someone at least took the time to try to explain to younger children what was going on, even though they still don’t “get” it. The scarier parts of the movie are conveniently left out, and even if young children don’t understand why Mother Gothel is so mean, they will still enjoy putting together the simple puzzles that picture her. Last but not least, there is a cute game to be played on the page where Rapunzel goes to see the floating lanterns. The game is simple; drag your finger over a row of blue lanterns and tap a second time to make them all disappear. It’s like Gemz, only simpler (and unfortunately for young children, without a tutorial.) The game, even when set to “Easy”, is still much harder than it appears for the average preschooler, and Mom might be required to help with it (and get addicted in the process and tear the iPad away from Johnny.) In the meantime, let your kid play the puzzles and read the story…and let Mary-Sue stay away from the more confusing elements of this app.

–Emma Ayars

Available on Now on iTunes App Store

Living Stories: The Brave Little Tailor

In Living Stories’ iPad adaption of this less-familiar fairytale, the little tailor kills seven flies and sews a big 7 on his shirt to commemorate his accomplishment. This leads to a series of adventures and his eventual wedding to a princess. While the plot may be beyond a preschooler’s comprehension, the colorful pictures and sounds will offer enough delight to keep the pages turning. The little tailor’s world is “tailored” to his own occupation; in fact, the tailor’s storybook world is made of cloth, where buttons lay by the roadside and roofs are really hats and sleeping caps. While there aren’t any games, there are some interactions, including the ability to bounce the little tailor and a boar as they roll down a hill, and plenty of sounds like tinkling bells and cheering to discover. The narration is excellent, and the interactions build on the story and set out a storybook world I can imagine children often revisiting. While less known than Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty, with the help of Living Stories, it could become a bedtime favorite.

–Emma Ayars

Available Now on iTunes App Store

Back to School Jitters

Back to School
Going from long, lazy summer days back to the rigors of a classroom can be a bumpy road for your child. It’s normal for her to experience a range of emotions about returning to school. Though each child responds to going back to school differently, you can take steps to address jitters and make the transition time smoother. Could one of these issues be causing your child’s fears?