When I saw the Harold and the Purple Crayon app in the featured section of the App Store, while I couldn’t recall the specifics of the story, I did vividly remember walking to the library with my Mom and brothers to borrow that book from the library. Seeing as Emily (my 4-year old) has recently decided that her favorite color is purple (sorry pink), has a wild imagination, loves books and is totally and completely enamored with the iPad…I figured this would be a great choice.
From the moment we pressed play, Emily was utterly captivated by the story of Harold and his amazing purple crayon. Trilogy Studios brings the pages of Crockett Johnson’s classic children’s book, Harold and the Purple Crayon to life, giving kids three different ways to experience the story. The first (and most engaging) of which is ‘Touch Tale’. In this mode Emily got to act like Harold, tracing the gray drawing lines on the screen with her purple crayon (her finger) helping to tell the story. Emily easily loved this mode the best as she got to color things purple and touch the screen to interact with the objects and places, like making apples fall from a tree, making flowers grow on a cactus and even causing a porcupine burp (her all-time favorite part).
There is a perfect age-appropriate tutorial that teaches children how to interact with the book in language that is easy for them to understand. The front page also features a “This Book Belongs To” spot for your child to type their name in. A nice little touch that elicited smiles as Emily saw her name in print. There are many hidden animations that your child can trigger and it encourages little ones to be inquisitive and explore. Kids can also tap on any object and it not only tells them what it is, but also displays the word on the screen.
The coloring mechanism, worked quite well and Emily got a huge smile on her face when she saw that her finger could turn things purple (a skill that I’m sure she wished she had in real life). Emily is a bit of a perfectionist and left to her own devices, she wouldn’t have left even a little itty bit of a gray line left uncolored before moving onto the next page, fortunately for her parents who were trying to get her to bed on time, once you’ve colored in a certain percentage, the rest fills in on its own.
The other two story modes are ‘Read to Me’ and ‘Read Alone’. In the former, the story is simply narrated by a soft soothing voice of a female narrator and words are highlighted in purple as they are read, allowing your child to follow along. Finally, as you might suspect, in ‘Read Alone’ mode the story is not narrated, just in case you’d like to read the story to your child yourself, or the child would like to read it by his or herself. The animations in all the story modes are both charming and captivating. The music is also very soothing and is a nice way to ease your child into sleep time.
One thing that I should note is that while the app is universal, iOS 4.3.3 or later is required, which means that if you have given your child your old 2nd gen iPod Touch to use (like I did), unfortunately the app NOT run on these older devices. Sadly, this seems to be a common trend amongst many of the newer interactive book apps, so Emily may be getting an iDevice upgrade soon…shh don’t spoil the surprise.
Trilogy Studios has done an excellent job at bringing the classic children’s book, Harold and the Purple Crayon to life. For around the same price as a new copy of the physical book, you get a rich and engaging experience that your child will love, especially if their favorite color happens to be purple.
Harold and the Purple Crayon is on sale for $4.99 ($2 off) for the remainder of September.