There’s no denying that the iPad is a revolutionary device. What it can do and they way it goes about doing it is just amazing. However, to my disappointment application developers have not been quick to release programs for the iPad that take advantage of everything the device has to offer. There are a few applications currently in the iTunes App Store that do though, and when you load one of these onto your device you immediate just get it.
Such is the case with Disney Publishing’s newest digital interactive book. Recently released in the iTunes App Store, Princess and the Frog Read Along is an interactive, read-along story that utilizes all the elements that make the iPad the magical device Apple describes it to be.
Disney makes reading fun and through their interactive titles children can not only enjoy the stories, puzzles, games and other activities but actually learn all at the same time. Can you say WIN/WIN? I knew you could.
Read on to learn more about this exciting new Disney Publishing offering.
At first launch, after the application’s splash screen loads, you’ll be presented with two offerings. You can choose to READ AND EXPLORE or opt to simply LISTEN TO STORY. I’ll be covering the read and explore option in this review but if you’re interested the listen to story option simply reads the entire story to your child from start to finish.
The Princess and the Frog is Disney’s newest story and features their newest Princess. Tiana is a girl from Louisiana who dreams of one day owning her own restaurant and Naveen, a spoiled Prince. The two are turned into frogs when they kiss and enter upon a journey together filled with love and enchantment.
As you launch into the story a narrator reads along as the words are highlighted. This way your child sees the actual words at the very moment they are being said. I’m not an education expert, but I imagine this has a positive effect in helping him/her understand words.
Tapping the book with mouse ears in the bottom middle of the screen brings up the book’s information menu. It’s here where all the other add-on elements of the application reside.
By touching the PAGES icon you’ll bring up a graphical representation of all the pages in the book. You can then jump to any spot in the book at any time.
If you child is already at a reading level and you want him/her to read the story without the assistance of the narrator you can choose to turn off the text to speech. You can also toggle automatically page turning on or off.
You can also choose to become the narrator yourself. To do so you’ll need to read each page while the application records it. Then your child will hear your voice when the story is read. For parents the frequently travel and for those kids who miss having them read them a bed-time story, this seems like the perfect fix.
The application features a bunch of kid’s activities that accompany the story.
When the choose the paint option they’ll be able to digitally color scenes from the story. When they’re done, simply shake the iPad to erase and start all over again.
There’s also a MUSIC which contains sing along style music videos from the story as well.
Just like the spoken portion of the book the words to each song are highlighted as they are sung while a video runs alongside.
The application contains a few games to entertain your child as well. You can select a level of difficulty for each game from EASY, NORMAL and HARD insuring kid’s of all age groups can enjoy them.
Finally, there are jig-saw puzzles which are created from the book’s illustrations as well. You can once again choose a difficulty level (the number of pieces changes) to allow for kids of different skill levels to play.
The saying goes “the proof is in the pudding.” If something can get my three girls (ages 9,7,4) to sit, together, without fighting, in the same bed, for more than 5 minutes, it’s worth its weight in gold!
In all seriousness, there aren’t many iPad applications out yet that make me go WOW! The Disney line of digital books does though. Every parent I’ve shown it to has been blown away by what it can do. Not only is it an entertaining way for your kids to get in touch with technology but they’ll actually learn something while having fun all at the same time! When kids are learning while having fun they’re much more apt to take in more, become interested and want to absorb more content over and over again.
The Princess and the Frog Read Along application is available in the iTunes App Store for $8.99 by clicking here (link opens iTunes.)
M.S.R.P. - $8.99
What I like - tons of activities, makes learning fun, great graphics, good for kids of all ages.
What I don’t like - nothing!