Chocolate Attack! is, in many ways, an ideal digital book. It has fun graphics, a cute story line, educational value, a clear moral and takes full advantage of the touch screen with interactive elements on nearly every page. The interactivity is varied and well integrated into the story while capturing the whimsy of being able to touch the screen and make the picture dance. The animations are also hidden a little, like the fire hydrant can be tapped to get water to spurt out, but not so hidden as to encourage a child to tap constantly, like a Pavlovian experiment gone awry.
The first page has a spinning sun, for instance, that my child instinctively reached out and touched, soon discovering that he could get it to spin faster with the flick of his finger. The main character, an unnamed girl, seeks chocolate treats to excess in a story that has her going from fat to fatter to a giant that crushes cars with her stomping feet.
My son loved to return to the page where dragging the girl over a path of sweets makes the girl grow ever fatter. Eventually the girl returns to normal size and gets a lecture from her mom about 'tasty pleasures' and 'moderation'. Overall this is a cute story, although the rhyming has a tedious quality to it if re-read too frequently (at least for adults).
The story does not, however, have any sound effects with the animations (which is a little unusual), plus the audio is a little odd. Turning on the narration (controlled at the bottom of each page) also triggers automatic page turning, so the pages turn even if the child is not done exploring. So basically it's difficult to really listen & play during the same reading, so we wouldn't touch it at all when playing it with sound. When playing with the interactive elements, it is also easy to accidentally trigger a page turn, which is frustrating for children & adults.
This also isn't a good title for bedtime at our house since it is almost too much fun, so lots of re-play value instead. There are no extras, but the developer does have a game app of the same name that uses the same character & graphics. I recommend muting the device and reading this title for it's educational value. This allowed my son and I to stop and discuss several pages about eating healthy, craving sweets, moderation, etc. which was a nice way to open up the topic of nutrition in general. It's not a title we read often but definitely worth a look.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Apologue Entertainment, LLC
4 - 8 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 4 - 8 +
The story begins with a girl waking up hungry, but she refuses any healthy foods (pictured: bread, strawberries, bacon, juice, waffles, grapes, eggs & bananas ). The girl explains all the reasons she loves chocolate (e.g. it's taste, it's smell, the variety of treats). She is pictured lying on a cloud, surrounded by chocolate treats. Drag the treats toward the cloud, and they disappear as if she has eaten them up. The girl goes on to wonder, “So what's the harm in loving the stuff? How could something so good be so bad?” Several scenes of chocolates negative effects are shown, including it making her act badly, getting fat and not being able to stop. By now the girl is round & fat, eating up her neighbor's ice cream cone with a crazed look on her face. She becomes a giant monster, eating up the town until her mom lures the giant girl with a cookie. The story says the mom has a 'lengthy chat' with the girl (but other than than it's not clear how she got back to normal size). The mom explains that treats have to be eaten in moderation so they can be special for certain occasions. The 'special' occasions pictured are cheering up a friend (giving ice cream to a crying friend), new achievements (winning a violin performance), holidays (dressing in a fairy costume with a jack o' lantern) and birthdays (having cake & presents). The book then ends with the moral “if you don't want to end up delirious, TAKE ALL THINGS IN MODERATION!” (pictured as a handwritten note on the fridge with fun, movable ABC magnets). Overall an educational storyline with whimsical rhyming and cute graphics, although young children may need some explanation of the concepts of craving, moderation, healthy vs sugary snacks, etc.