The Penelope Rose HD ($6.99) is a brand new interactive 3D fairytale for the iPad. It’s built in 3D, but you won’t need any special glasses for this wonder…all the effects appear when you tilt the device. It’s actually pretty amazing, and my kids were wowed by it. They have liked other 3D apps, but those glasses get annoying, for me, and for them. With this, they’re not needed, and that’s a plus in my book.
My daughters love fairies and pixies and all those fairy-tale creatures found in stories of the like, so when I opened this app up I knew right away they’d love it…and they did.
Why though? Aside from the characters?
Simply put, the app is more than story (it has that too). It’s more than looks (also great). It’s filled with tons of interactions and abilities, such as painting roses and making fish fly, find-and-seek of hidden fairies, the ability to make the fairies fly all over…all with great sound effects and animations. There are just so many things to touch, move, animate and interact with, that it’s hard to believe they somehow crammed them all in!
This is a stunning app. Graphically it hits the mark at just about every turn. The 3D effects aside, the design of each character is spot-on, and really allows one become involved in the story.
According to the iTunes description, “The Penelope Rose is a magical fairytale of how roses were saved and fairies became the artists of the winged world.” Simply put, the story is good too! That’s something that some of these interactive books end up missing out on. It’s a “book” after all, so if your interactive storybook app ends up with almost no story, and ends up more game than actual story…you’ve missed your mark. With The Penelope Rose HD, you get plenty of story, and my girls really liked it…were asking questions and were ready to find out what happened next.
One thing many of these storybook apps for kids end up skimping on is options. With The Penelope Rose HD you get a few that really make it great! First there are two options for reading. “Read to Me and I Can Read”. Either listen to the enchanting voice of the narrator, or read it to your kids, or if they’re old enough, let them read it themselves. But as a bonus, even if you choose “I Can Read”, simply tap a word and it is read aloud. Even more amazing, highlight two words, and they’re read aloud. Highlight a sentence or passage, and it’s read aloud. You choose how much or how little is read aloud in this mode. It’s great! My daughter can attempt to read the story (she’s still learning) and when she gets stuck, BAM…she taps the word and it says it. Love it.
Also great is the guide/instructions within the story. Sometimes developers assume that kids (or some adults) know what they should be doing. It may be clear to the person creating the app, but sometimes it’s not to users. I love the fact that before each “page” there are instructions and details about what to do. Even better, once my kids knew what was expected on subsequent viewings, I could turn this off to keep the story going and moving along faster! Nice touch.
I really don’t have too much to say that would downgrade my view of this app. Except, it’s a little slow to load, but again it’s so jam packed that once we were INTO the story I could see why it loaded a little slow. Second, it’s a little expensive. It’s worth it if you’ve got little girls who love fairies, and love storybook apps…but it’s on the higher end the price spectrum for these type of apps. Yet, it’s also more packed full of greatness than most of those too. So….
Overall, The Penelope Rose HD is a really fun and delightful story for kids. It’s full of imagination and interaction, as well as a good story…three key elements of storybook apps for the iPad!