Unless your child lives under a rock, they've probably fallen in love with the movie, characters and storyline behind the Toy Story series. This new digital title is based on a new plot not in any of the movies, told originally in a print title published in the summer of 2011. The toys are having a talent show in this tale, and Buzz is hoping to impress Jessie with his performance. But will he think up a talent in time?
As a digital title, this one is very solidly made with nice settings; easy-to-read text highlights as narrated and several great extras in the form of games extend the storytelling. These games are top notch, including a "Simon" style game with 4 colored buttons to follow along as Buzz sways, slides, spins & twitches. There is also a game to record eight dance steps for Buzz that can be played back, a creative and engaging activity that my child loved.
The best of the three games, though, is the last one ... a spelling game where the child fills in the missing letters. This is a truly 5-Star educational title. Throughout the pages there are also words with definitions and great visual reinforcement of verbs with movements, like march, kick and bow. A full list of the words defined & concepts shown can be found in this title's synopsis.
This app is also nicely animated and interactive, including hints to show where to tap. Page turn is by simple arrows but can also be set to swipe under 'young reader mode'. An easy to read font, nice narration and interactivity that is complex and satisfying round out this great app.
Overall, this is a tremendous digital offering from Disney. Unlike many movie-themed titles, this one goes beyond the original script and engages kids with a new story while building on early literacy skills. Toy Story Showtime is sure to be a hit with both kids and their parents - a rare combination that makes this title one I highly recommend.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications
15 - 30 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: Yes
Age: 3 - 8
One day, Dolly has an idea ... "Let's have a talent show!" she says. Immediately Buzz thinks this is his chance to show off for his crush, Jessie the cowgirl. But what can he do that will impress her? The other toys practice their routines, from comedy & acrobatics to performing a Shakespeare scene. Buzz watches but isn't sure what he should do until he hears music that sends his body into dance moves. Luckily this is just the right talent to impress Jessie, who loves to dance.
The following words are included throughout the story with definitions if tapped on: perform, talent, proud, impress, practice, melody, routine and spectacular. The following nouns are demonstrated by the characters in the story: spin, leap, shake, bow, twitch, slide, march, hop, tap, kick & sway.
Ideas in the info section include "do-together ideas" for parents and ways to expand on the story.