This animated re-imagining of a classic Sesame Street book will enchant parents & kids for many re-readings. It may not be a good bedtime choice, but for any other time of day, this one will be a hit. Grover's attempts to keep the reader from turning the pages are even more delightful and amusing in animated form, especially with the chance to interact by touching the screen to undo the brick wall, boards, knots and other tricks he tries to keep the pages from turning.
There is, however, still no way to simply read the book. The words do highlight as Grover speaks them, though, which is a nice feature for young readers. I just wouldn't suggest giving up your print copy anytime soon. It is a classic, after all.
Young children can find this book a bit frightening, so keep this in mind if you have a sensitive child. There is an extensive guide in the latest update about tackling your child's fears, including specific ones like 'monsters under the bed'. My preschooler seems to love this book in part because it scares him a little, making it a great conversation starter about being afraid and other feelings.
When I wrote the original review, this book was crashing so much it could only be played once after EVERY reset. Why do I know this? Because my child loved this book so much I told him I would only re-set my iPad once a day so he could watch 'Grover'. Sometimes I caved and reset it again, but it was a little ridiculous. Since then, this book has been updated substantially not once, but twice.
I was really excited to see the first update. That time the developers managed to not only stablize this delightful book but also cut it's size by more than half, from 110 to 50MB. If you get short on space on your iPad, this will start to matter a lot. My kudos to the developer for such a quick fix.
This second update was even more substantial. They stabilized the app even more, improving the load time for the very animated pages, while still keeping the install size modest. Plus they added several settings, including a page guide to navigate within the app. Even more exciting, though, is the additional content that has been added to the app. There are now discussion questions that appear on every page (double tap on the button in the upper right hand corner of the screen) as well as a detailed guide for parents about helping kids deal with their fears.
Overall this is an outstanding app for kids. And now it's also exceptional for being the only app I've re-reviewed twice, bringing it from a mere 2 stars to its current 4.75. The latest update even optimized it for your iPhone/iPod, so now you can share it with your child on any iDevice you'd like. Definitely a must have for any digital library.
[Updated Review/Originally Published on 01/08/2011 & 12/27/2010]
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Jon Stone/Michael Smollin
Sesame Workshop Apps
8 - 10 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 4 - 8 +
"The Monster at the End of This Book: Starring Lovable, Furry Old Grover is a post-modern children's book based on the television series Sesame Street and starring Grover. It was written by Jon Stone and illustrated by Michael Smollin, and originally published by Golden Books in 1971 (ISBN 0-307-01085-6).
It is the best selling Sesame Street title and Sesame Workshop also released this as an audio enabled free eBook with highlights on December 7, 2009. In this book, Grover is horrified to learn that there is a monster at the end of the book, and begs the reader not to finish the book, so as to avoid the monster. Fearful of reaching the end of the book, Grover constructs a series of obstacles, such as attempting to tie pages together and laying brick walls, to prevent the reader from advancing.
Increasingly frightened (and also in awe of the reader's strength at overcoming the obstacles), Grover pleads with the reader to stop reading as the book nears its conclusion. However, the monster turns out to be Grover himself, making the story self-referential. Grover jokes that he tried to convince the reader that the monster would not be scary - but we see at the end that he is embarrassed." [Source: Wikipedia]