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★★★ Open House ★★★
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Daniel Tiger's Storybooks
© 2017 PBS Kids

CTR Review
09/05/2017
Ease of Use
8/10
Educational
7/10
Entertaining
7/10
Design Features
7/10
Value
7/10
Total:
72%
Reviewed using the Standard Rubric
For ages 3-7
For grades P, K, 1, 2
$2.99, iPad, iPhone, Kindle, Android
Teaches: helping, inter-personal skills, social relationships, reading, language
From a content point of view, the five short stories in this app are "pure Mr. Rogers," who would've most likely liked of the messages of sharing and helping. Parent/child props pop up from the bottom of the screen, offering suggestions for a nearby adult. These tips can be turned on or off in the parent's menu, and it is also possible to toggle between Spanish and English. There are five stories as of 9/6/2017: Big Brother Daniel, Daniel Shares His Tigertastic Car, Daniel and His Friends, Daniel's Babysitter and Neighborhood Cleanup. Each consists of ten screens. The illustrations and and narration are TV quality, but the interactive design offers false choices, in the form of items that look interesting but don't respond to a curious finger, and sluggish page transitions. You can't see all five stories in the main menu (increasing the chance you'll never find them) and you don't know how long the story is when you're in the middle pages. We're not big fans of "page flippers" that don't stray far beyond a book metaphor other than a few sprinkled animated routines and some faux page flipping sounds. Apps from StoryToys and Nosy Crow do a much better job with digital storytelling on touch screens.

The bottom line? While the interactive design is limited, it's easy to forgive the flaws in light of the useful Daniel Tiger themes.
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While this app is thin on interaction, Apple has smiled upon it with homepage features left and right. For the last week, it has been crushing in the Education and Kids under 5 categories in US. It just goes to show that an app doesn't need to be especially useful to educators to climb in Education. While I agree that we need to encourage developers to make apps that live up to the potential of the medium, a paper storybook with similar content and no interaction would cost at least five times as much, so that's pretty good value.