This free Toy Story app is often one of the first children's ebook apps that new iPad owners download. It's consistently in the top 10 for free books in the App store and you hardly need me to tell you it's worth downloading. It's a fully animated offering, with scenes crisp and spectacular, right from the movie, plus bundled together are two decent 'mini-games'. "Parachute Drop" is a GI Joe parachuting down, using motion controls you tilt to help him avoid obstacles & "Toy Barn Maze" has a simple maze for you to drag Buzz around to pick up his friends and exit.
The app is remarkably stable for such a big production, so it's a nice one to show off the new iPad to the kids. And it's full of options, including the ability to record your own narration. But what you probably really want to know is if you should bother buying any of the rest of Disney's App's at $3, $8 or whatever price point they are at today? And the answer is, I'm not sure. It may be a few months before I can evaluate their other apps, and while this one is nice enough, it's harly awe-inspiring.
I'll be honest, I'm not a big fan of the movie-related book offerings for regular old-school print books either, although my son loves them like most kids. I feel that these types of books don't do as good a job nurturing a love of reading in children, as they do nurturing a love of movies, which isn't hard to nurture.
There is also so much truly charming literature out there for me to discover with my child (in digital & print books) that I just don't have a burning desire to over-expose my child to Disney. Don't get me wrong. I love Disney. I'm a parent of a four year old, after all. But Disney is already doing fine exposing itself to my child. My job is to expose my child to new things. [Okay, maybe I'm also super-saturated by Toy Story ... what parent wasn't in 2010?]
Overall this is a fun book and much better than most edutainment titles, so don't be dissuaded by my failure to appreciate the genre as a whole. For what it is, and it doesn't pretend to be anything else but a book about a movie, it's fabulous. And forget what I said earlier about the whole genre.
If you don't already have Toy Story downloaded, do it now. it's free after-all and unless your child has been sheltered beyond the reach of Disney, it will make you a hit with your kid. But when you're done with it, check out some of the more original titles further down in the App store's top charts. You won't be sorry!
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Disney Publishing Worldwide
10 - 15 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: Yes
Age: 4 - 10 +
This little book manages to take the reader through the whole basic plot of Toy Story (abridged significantly, of course, for a picture book version). Here is what Wikipedia says so nicely about the plot of the movie:
"Woody, a pull-string cowboy doll is the leader of a group of toys that belong to a boy named Andy and come to life whenever humans are not around. With his family moving to a new home and one week before his birthday, the toys stage a reconnaissance mission to discover Andy's new presents. Andy receives a space ranger Buzz Lightyear action figure, whose impressive features soon see him replacing Woody as Andy's favorite toy.
Woody is disappointed and resentful at his replacement, while Buzz does not understand that he is a toy, believing himself to be a real space ranger, and sees Woody as an interference in his mission to return to his "home planet". Andy's next door neighbor (until his family moved) Sid Phillips has been kicked out of summer camp earlier and Woody explains to Buzz that Sid is a person who tortures and destroys toys just for fun.
Andy prepares to go to a family outing at the space themed Pizza Planet restaurant with Buzz. Woody attempts to have Buzz misplaced, but ends up knocking him out the window, causing the other toys to think that Woody tried to get rid of him. With Buzz missing, Andy takes Woody with him to Pizza Planet instead. Buzz, however, climbs aboard the car and confronts Woody as they stop at a gas station. The two toys fight and accidentally land outside the car, which drives off and leaves them stranded.
Woody spots a truck bound for Pizza Planet and plans to rendezvous with Andy there, convincing Buzz to come with him by telling him it will take him to his home planet. Once at Pizza Planet, Buzz makes his way into a claw game machine shaped like a spaceship, thinking it to be the ship Woody promised him. While Woody clambers in to try and rescue him, they happen to get captured by Sid. At Sid's house, the two desperately attempt to escape before Andy's family's moving day, encountering nightmarish mutant toys as well as Sid's vicious dog Scud.
Buzz sees a commercial for Buzz Lightyear action figures just like himself and realizes that he is a toy, becoming too depressed to participate in Woody's escape plan. Sid prepares to destroy Buzz by strapping him to a rocket, but is delayed by a thunderstorm. Woody convinces Buzz that life is worth living even if he is not a space ranger because of the joy he can bring to children. Buzz regains his spirit, but Sid takes him to his backyard.
Cooperating with Sid's mutant toys, Woody stages a rescue of Buzz and scares Sid off by coming to life, telling him to play nice. However, the two miss Andy's car as it drives away to his new house. Running out on the road, they manage to climb onto the moving truck but Scud chases them and Buzz tackles the dog to save Woody. Woody attempts to rescue Buzz with Andy's RC but the other toys, who still distrust him, toss him off onto the road. However, spotting Woody driving RC back with Buzz alive, they realize their mistake and try to help them into the truck.
When RC's batteries become depleted, Woody ignites the rocket on Buzz's back and manages to throw RC into the moving truck just as the duo go soaring into the air. Buzz then opens his wings to cut himself free of the rocket moments before it explodes, and he and Woody drop safely through the car's open roof into a box on the rear seat. Andy looks in the box and is elated to find Buzz and Woody, who he assumes must have been there the whole time he thought they were lost."