Arabella is just your average little girl who wants to play with her mom and dad. Sure, her backyard is an enormous garden filled with exotic animals, she has a palace full of servants, and her parents happen to be king and queen, but aside from that she’s just a regular kid. This new interactive children’s storybook from RumdeeDum takes readers on a wild ride using their iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. Based on the books by Mylo Freeman, readers will get to spend a day in the life of Princess Arabella.
We reviewed the iPad version of this interactive storybook. The art style of this app matches that used in the actual story books. This unique hand drawn art style gives this app an authentic storybook feel which helps it stand out from other interactive books. This storybook also makes good use of the full iPad screen and allows for the choice between long text and short text. Long text (all of the words) will orient the device in a landscape view while short text allows the book to be read in a portrait view. Princess Arabella Wants to Play includes imagery which promotes a traditional family unit with a happily married mother and father, and a little dog too.
The audio in Princess Arabella is outstanding. The story offers full narration by an exceptional storyteller with an English accent. This narration can be turned off if you fancy reading the story yourself. The app also features the choice of four languages if you prefer French, Dutch, or German over English. The musical theme is cute and fits well with the story. There are also amusing sound effects that can be activated throughout the story which will help keep children entertained as the story is being read. I would have liked to see a bit more interactive content in the story, but the real strength of this app lies in the story itself.
The replay value of interactive books is somewhat subjective. If your children enjoy the story, they’ll likely want to come back to it again. If they don’t, well it’s like any other storybook that doesn’t get read. Princess Arabella Wants to Play offers a handful of interactive features to entice readers to come back for more, but even these will lose their luster quickly if you’re not interested in the story. This book could be read together as a family for some quality time. The story has five lengthy chapters and will only set you back a buck in the app store.
Princess Arabella Wants to Play is designed to work like an actual book. Readers can turn the pages by flicking the corner of the screen with their finger. RumdeeDum has also included a pop-up menu at the bottom of the screen that can be accessed for navigating by using on-screen arrows. The control design works pretty well, though on occasion I found that I would inadvertently turn the page while trying to find interactive areas on the page. You can simply turn back to the previous page, but if you have narration turned on you’ll need to listen to the entire page again. Some pages even make use of the motion sensor in the iPad which adds some extra fun for the reader. For example, on one page you can tilt the iPad to the right and cause a ball to roll into Arabella’s bedroom. The story itself is a bit long for younger children, but with the option of turning on short text, you can make it more concise if you find your children are losing interest. By turning off narration and enabling “short text”, early readers can use this book to practice their reading skills as well.
Princess Arabella Wants to
Play is an interactive story that can be enjoyed by the entire family
just as easily as a traditional storybook. The story promotes
traditional family values and offers up lessons for both children and
adults alike. Little Arabella desperately wants to play with her mom and
dad, but they’re just too tired from a hard day and want to rest. What
parent can’t relate to that? Arabella eventually chooses to make her own
fun and inadvertently causes some anxiety for her parents. The story
serves as a good reminder for us to make time for our kids whenever we
can. After all, it won’t be long and they probably won’t be interested
in playing with mom and dad anymore. There are also some lessons in here
for kids about making choices that can put you in harm’s way, not to
mention causing your parents to have a canary. This interactive book was
put together well and I look forward to more releases in the series.
Family Friendly Factor: 92%
System: iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch
ESRB Rating: '4+' for 4+
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