As a professional, I take pride in the fact that I can review anything and everything, including storybook apps for little kids. From Nosy Crow’s The Three Little Pigs and Cinderella to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue, I got our future — the wonderful children of this world — covered.
“Wow, another digital storybook review, Jason? Admit it you secretly love this stuff as much as Madonna loves herself in that Gimme All Your Luvin’ song.”
Well, I, uh, um, you know. Anyway... one thing I won’t deny is how much I loved reading and re-reading my Sesame Street Little Golden Book, The Monster at the End of This Book, as a child. I literally read that stuff over and over as I took glee in Grover’s hapless attempts to prevent me from turning the pages. Talk about a perfect example of using reverse psychology on kids by Sesame Street.
Fast forward to today and you now have storybooks in digital form. Needless to say, my interest was piqued when I got a digital copy of the sequel to The Monster at the End of This Book — the aptly titled Another Monster at the End of This Book for iOS devices. Does the electronic version retain the charm and wit that made the original “hard” books a delight to read? Let’s dig in further shall we?PROS
Funny, excellent dialog: One reason kids and kids at heart love the Muppets involves their personality traits and the dialogue in this app certainly makes that shine through. From the cute and lovable Elmo to poor Grover’s ‘fraidy-cat hi jinks, kids are going to love the presentation of both characters. I also like the extra snips of comment you get if you wait a little bit before trying to turn the digital pages. This really makes me feel like a kid watching Sesame Street all over again.
Great interactivity: The original hardcover books certainly did an excellent job in immersing kids in the story but the ability to make each page truly interactive makes digital media a perfect, well, medium for the Monster series. Instead of simply leaving things to the reader’s imagination, which I actually still think is a good thing, the app version bumps up the immersion by allowing readers to interact with objects on the screen. Whether it be helping Grover put paper clips at the edges of a page to prevent it from being turned or sabotaging Grover by taking out said paper clips, the addition of interactive elements really helps make the story come to life.
A bit short: This likely become less of an issue for younger kids but it would’ve been nice to have a few more extra pages featuring Grover’s attempts to prevent you from getting to the end of the book. At the very least you can bump up the enjoyment factor by adding a few more interactive pages. I want, er, I mean kids want more of a good thing, darn it!
No page swiping: The use of arrow tapping to turn the page instead of a page swipe feels a bit counterproductive for a digital book. Granted this might have been a bit of a challenge since the pages have interactive elements, though I’ve seen other digital books handle that with no problems.
In all honesty, the gripes I mention in the “CONS” section are pretty much nitpicking. I’ve sampled my fair share of digital storybooks, including ones I haven’t written reviews for, and I can confidently say that Another Monster at the End of This Book is easily one of the best I have ever seen. Kids are especially going to love this book and I pretty much guarantee that they will be reading this app over and over and over again — just like I did with The Monster at the End of This Book oh-so-many years ago. I highly recommend it.