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Jack and the Beanstalk by Nosy Crow

Jack and the Beanstalk by Nosy Crow



This classic fairy tale is presented in an innovative way that blends gaming and reading so that reluctant readers will be intrigued.
The Bottom Line
This beautiful interactive book app is revolutionary in the way it combines reading and gaming to attract hesitant readers -- especially little boys. Use this book to hook your son on reading!

Combines Gaming with Reading

The classic fairy tale of climbing up the beanstalk to arrive in a giant's kingdom gets a digital makeover in this version by Nosy Crow. In the Read and Play mode, the story in narrated while the words highlight and the characters appear fully animated. Kids can extend the story with extra narration by touching the characters in the scene to hear what they are thinking or to learn more about what they can do. Kids can also choose to read the story to themselves.

What makes this version special -- besides the lovely illustrations and lively animations -- is the addition of game-like elements into the story. For example, climbing up the vine becomes a fun mini-game of jumping between three possible vines where some stop midway up. The Giant's castle houses another nine games, each found in a different room. Using a play mechanism of finding or earning colored keys, Jack searches the castle to find doors that match the color of the key he has found. When he unlocks a door, he meets new characters; and each offers a game. Inside a few of the rooms, Jack will encounter the sleeping giant and he plays games about sneaking around.

A Story Full of Mini-Games

The games vary, but they are all are well done. With the cook, kids help make a stew by adding colored ingredients. With a frog prince, they play a tilting game of navigating a bucket down a well (while avoiding dirty socks) to pick up the frog's missing gold ball. Jack helps a baby dragon escape by solving a geometric-shapes puzzle. In the library, kids play a game of making patterns out of colored books. One stealth game involves lifting the Giant's sleeping arm to steal his money (this could lead to an interesting discussion with your child). When the harp sounds the alarm, the giant wakes up. He chases Jack around the castle in a quick-paced side-scrolling jumping game. Kids must tap Jack at just the right time to make him jump over barrels scattered around the castle. When kids opt out of this chase by tapping the next page button, the Giant tries to follows Jack down the beanstalk.

How You Play Affects the Ending

In the end, when Jack has made it down the vine and the reader has successfully chopped down the beanstalk, the bounty shown on the table in Jack's mom's house reflects how well you did in the nine mini-games. In essence, this book has a scoring mechanism. This aspect of the book is great motivation to read the story again and see if you can collect more things while in the Giant's castle.

Why This App Is Special

By adding games inside this popular story featuring a little boy on an adventure, Jack and the Beanstalk draws in little boys who are reluctant to read. One of these games even creates a little digital magic: when the player is asked to put together a broken mirror, the video camera turns on and kids see themselves appear in real time on all of the broken parts and in the completed mirror when they put together the jigsaw puzzle. The narration of the 13 characters, all done in child actors' voices, helps kids to feel comfortable reading this story. By providing kids with the control of the story -- there are hundreds of lines of dialogue to explore -- they can explore this book the way they want to. Plus, the next time they read it, it could be different. Like Nosy Crow's Little Red Riding Hood, this version of Jack and the Beanstalk also puts kids in charge of the outcome of the story. This is empowering to kids, making this book an easy favorite. Jack and the Beanstalk by Nosy Crow cleverly creates an intersection where gaming and reading meet.

Best For:

Choose this book app for little boys who love video games and are hesitant readers. The focus of this book app is to create a gaming environment in which little boys read. That said, it is also fun for little girls.

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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Jack and the Beanstalk by Nosy Crow
Released: 1/30/2014
Company: Nosy Crow
Price: 4.99
Platforms: iPad
iPod Touch
Available: Apple App Store

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