If you are a fan of the 1965 classic movie, A Charlie Brown Christmas, then you are going to love this story app from Loud Crow. I’ve been waiting all year to review this one, as it is one of my favourite apps ever, and one of the first apps I ever purchased. I rate it highly, not only in terms of supportive features for early readers, but for entertainment value as well.
Before I go into the big description, let me list the supportive features common to Loud Crow’s eBooks.
- Two reading modes are available: Read to Me, and Read it Myself
- Individual words are spoken as tapped. This is handy for readers who wish on their independently but who struggle with unfamiliar words. Paragraphs can also be repeated.
- Narration is clear, well-paced, expressive and a pleasure to listen to.
- Words are highlighted as read.
- Illustrations, animations and interactive elements support the text and are not too distracting.
- Simple and intuitive controls
All of these features make Loud Crow eBooks very supportive of early readers, and are probably enough to win me over, but it gets even better.
“Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” – Charlie Brown
The story is identical to the movie plot: Charlie and his friends are preparing for a Christmas concert and Charlie ponders the true meaning of Christmas while becoming increasingly frustrated with the commercialism of Christmas. If you haven’t seen the movie, I don’t want to give the story away, but in short, after everything that can go wrong does to wrong, Linus reminds us about the real meaning of Christmas in one of the most simple and touching scenes of any Christmas story, ever. Check out Loud Crow’s YouTube trailer (below) to see how well they have translated the movie to the eBook format:
- There are little surprises hidden throughout the story, such as scenes and mini-games. Some, such as the snowball-throwing activity, form part of the story.
- Original dialogue from the movie is used.
- Music and special effects recordings from the movie are used in the story.
- You can decorate your own tree which is then used in the story in place of Charlie’s tree.
- The tree-decorating activity is also available as a free app, also by Loud Crow, called My Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.
- Decorations representing the “Twelve Days of Christmas” carol are hidden throughout the story. As you find them, they become available to decorate your tree.
- More decorations can be unlocked by performing tasks throughout the story. I’m not going to give any spoilers here, but there are hints at the end of the book.
- Still more decorations can be unlocked through in-app purchases. If you don’t want your children accidentally accessing these, make sure you use your device settings to turn off in-app purchases.
Illustrations, animations and interactive elements support the text and help build meaning. For example, the opening page of this story features a winter scene with children ice skating while snowflakes fall. While a familiar scene for many readers, it is not one my children recognise from real life as we live in a more tropical climate. Talking about the scene while tapping the snow flakes and helping the children skate helps my children become familiar with the scene and introduces unfamiliar words and concepts that might pop up in the story.
The book appeals to all ages, and with its supportive reading features, it will be great for older readers who are not independent readers.
My only issue with the app is that my children can’t have individual profiles so they can discover all the special treats themselves, and there isn’t a reset option. You have to delete the app and reinstall it to reset the puzzles.
Original voices from the movie are used in the story, and the narration is done by Peter Robbins, the actor who originally provided the voice for Charlie Brown in the movie as a child. It must have been an interesting experience for him to revisit the story after all these years.
Lee Cameron’s The Christmas Stocking Podcast dedicated episode 52 to the movie in 2010. It is well worth listening to as Lee discusses facts around the creation of the movie and its influence on society at the time. (Now I understand the reference to aluminium trees!) Look for more information about The Christmas Stocking Podcast podcast in the next post.
If you haven’t guessed by now, this App is one of my favourites. A Charlie Brown Christmas app was my first Loud Crow purchase and I have since gone on to buy nearly all of their eBooks. (I have yet to buy Pop Out Night before Christmas, but probably will.) What is not to love? The eBook is supportive of readers, has an entertaining and moving story, and the extra elements add even more fun to the mix. While aimed at children, this is definitely one for the whole family, and I guarantee every adult will fall in love with it. Loud Crow have one other Peanuts book, It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and it is just as much fun as this one. I really hope they do others as I’m a big Peanuts fan, and it is great to see such wonderful translations of these timeless stories. The price below is the regular price, but recently it has been on sale several times and it is currently $5.49 in the Australian iTunes store.
Also available for Android from the Amazon store (Price: $6.99). If you are really keen, you might like to get a copy of the A Charlie Brown Christmas movie, also available on the Amazon store.