Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Brave: Storybook Deluxe

Brave: Storybook Deluxe

Fall 2012 Mobile Apps
Ages: 5 & Up
Download Price: $6.99
Platform: iPad

Movies-turned-into-picture books can be a mixed experience. Such books may lose the depth of the movie and the nuances of its characters, and they often feature plots that are shallower than those in books written for their own sake. However, they do provide a gateway to literature for children who are reluctant readers by allowing them to enjoy the story of the movie again and again. In Brave: Storybook Deluxe, the benefits of a book adaptation outweigh the cons, and the app also provides a range of activities to give itself even more reason for being.

The illustrations in the app are beautifully rendered with a softer, more watercolor look than the 3-D animation graphics of the film. Each page gives a summary of a portion of the story and then transitions to a full-screen image which comes to life, occasionally with a clip from the movie but more often with only a slight motion and some sound effects. Hidden in the large images are themed arrows (Merida, the main character, is a skilled archer) to collect into three sets of ten. These arrows can then be used to boost game play in "Merida's Challenge," a fully animated game in which Merida rides through a forest, shooting arrows at targets as guided by the player. Other activities are hidden in the book as well, including numerous coloring pages and simple jigsaw puzzles.

Our tester's children enjoyed reading through the book (which includes a read-aloud option for pre-readers to follow along), but what brought them back to the app was the game itself, which provided a genuine challenge for all levels of ability. The storybook is much less expensive than a hardback from the bookstore, and when that is combined with a coloring book and a real game, the price seems entirely reasonable. But wait on purchasing the app until after you see the movie -- it gives away the entire plot!

Emily Crawford   ©2012 Parents' Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master's in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Look for this product at:
Disney Publishing Worldwide, Inc.
Available on iTunes

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