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Toontastic Jr. Pirates
SCREENSHOTS

Toontastic Jr. Pirates

1/13/2013

FREE

This app teaches young kids (ages 3-6) how to create a cartoon.
The Bottom Line
This is a fascinating app that I hope improves with frequent updates.

Cartoon Creator

This iOS app teaches young kids (ages 3-6) how to create a cartoon. Kids pick a beginning, middle, and an end from 12 story-starter videos. The beginning video plays, showing funny pirates doing silly things, such as fishing for a mermaid. After the video stops, kids can move the characters around on the screen and tell how the story continues. The app records both the movement of the characters and your child's speech. Next, kids select emotive music to play in the background. The app repeats this sequence with the middle and the end of the story and then magically puts it all together to create a video cartoon story. This part of the app is a great way to teach kids the fundamentals of storytelling.

Special StoryShare Feature

For families that are separated by distance, this app provides a StoryShare option. With StoryShare, your child can cooperative with an approved friend or relative (the parent needs to type in the email) to move the characters around to act out the story. For example, Grandpa can join in the story creation process and actually control and speak for one of the characters on the screen. Your child can talk to Grandpa through the app (it sounds like talking to someone on the phone) so that they can plot the story together. For this to work, Grandpa also needs to have downloaded this app.

Sharing with a Distant Relative

The concept of providing a way for someone far away to share in the experience of creating digital media with your child is brilliant. In practice, this app is a little buggy. With two people controlling the characters simultaneously, the movement comes across as being somewhat jerky. And it is hard to hear both people's speech during playback. While you can talk to each other during the video story-starters, you don't have much time to plan your story before you have to perform. Luckily, there is a "Redo" button. However, when you want to talk to your collaborator during the playback of your joint creation, you have to hold down an onscreen button -- kind of like using a walkie-talkie. This process might be too difficult for the intended audience; so parents should be around to help. This is a fascinating app that I hope improves with frequent updates.

All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.

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Toontastic Jr. Pirates
Company: Launchpad Toys
Price: FREE
Platforms: iPad
iPhone
iPod Touch
Available: Apple App Store

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