The ever-popular Mo Willems' Pigeon is back and he wants to take over your iPad (or iPhone/iPod)! Based on the series of print books published since 2003, this app is sure to become a favorite in any house with children under 6. It features customizable story sequences that will enchant fans of Willems' work instantly. He had me at 'hello', literally (or 'hi' to be completely accurate).
Readers can select one of three choices under the 'create your own story' icon or start by following a great how-to video (starring Willems himself) that helps you draw your own pigeon (which appears later in all the stories). Each version begins with the bus driver walking onto the screen to say that, "I've got to go visit some pals in your other apps. But if you see the Pigeon, shake him to make a Pigeon story." After shaking the iPad, the story starts and it's different every time, with "Don't let the Pigeon ..." to begin every sequence.
The default story mode is under 'Egg' and includes a text story to go along. If you choose 'Chick' you get to create the story by choosing story elements from a series of pictures that the bus driver supplies for the reader. And if you choose 'Big Pigeon' you create the story by recording answers to a series of open ended questions. The second two options don't include a text story but all three let the reader record their own name.
The only drawback to this app is that there really is no way to just read the story or even turn pages (and only the default story has a text version to go along). It is an animated story sequence that is played for the 'reader' to passively watch, although I had to really search for something to criticize because this is simply a fabulous app. It just isn't anything like a traditional book. And after this title, I'm not so sure that's a bad thing.
Don't Let the Pigeon Run This App! takes the medium of the iPad and shakes things up, imagining a whole different kind of storytelling. But don't despair that this app will ruin reading for you or your child. After playing with this app, my child and I both wanted to go to the library to check out a stack of Mo Willems' titles ... so if anything, this app has us reading more than ever before. My highest recommendation!
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications
8 - 30 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 2 - 6 +
Each version of this story series has the charismatic Pigeon asking the reader to let him do a variety of non-Pigeon-y things, like borrow your cell phone, be the principal or wear purple underwear. On each page in between his requests, children are heard shouting "No!". The Pigeon gets more and more desperate, frustrated and crazy in his efforts to convince the reader that he can do or be whatever the title page suggested. Every read is a little different, especially in Chick & Big Pigeon modes. Stories created with the user's input can be saved. You can also draw your own version of the famous Willems' Pigeon.