Featuring two veggies that many children often find on their dinner plates, the The Prisoner of Carrot Castle is a book app that young readers will be riveted by from the first to last nibble! This is an adventure story about eating your veggies that will enchant children ages 5-9. The app has a polished story with beautiful illustrations and fun interactivity to keep kids engaged.
Aidan is a young boy, sitting sullenly in front of his evening meal. He is staring at the vegetables he must eat to finish dinner and looking for a way out. With both broccoli and carrots on his mind, he begins to daydream. The world Aidan imagines invites the young reader to travel along on a very appetizing journey. From a prison cell with walls made of carrots to 'broccoli' trees in the nearby courtyard, this is one delicious and nutritious tale.
As a digital offering, this app is solidly made with polished animation and light interactive elements. These enhancements are well-done but lack any hints or indication of where or when to tap. They are also not very plot-related, creating more of a distraction than reinforcement of story comprehension. Scenes that involve having the character eat the carrots and other veggies also require the item be dragged precisely to Aidan's fork (not his mouth, which was my child's intuitive first choice), so hints for this would be especially useful to prevent user frustration.
Very cool page turn arrows are in the form of carrots and the font is nice-sized and easy-to-read. The reading level is ideal for 4th grade and up, although younger readers will enjoy listening to the story. The app lacks a page guide and while the narration is lovely, it does not highlight as read. These would be great improvements for a future update. A small extra is also included, giving readers the chance to dress three knights in their clothes and armor.
Overall, this is an app that wins readers over with a well-crafted story and lovely illustrations. These are the most traditional elements of any picture book, whether in digital or print. More story-related enhancements could improve on this otherwise delightful book, but even as-is, this is a fun book app that children will enjoy. Recommended.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Chris Pedersen/Kate Jeong
Purple Carrot Books LLC
8 - 12 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 5 - 9
A boy named Aidan is staring at his plate of carrots and broccoli when he begins to daydream. He finds himself in another world, trapped in a prison cell made of carrots. Soon he is told he will need to go before the king. While Aidan waits in his cell, he realizes he can eat the carrots and make a hole to squeeze through.
He slides out a tunnel that leads to a courtyard below. Soldiers were everywhere, trying to find the escaped prisoner. Aidan climbs into a tree for safety, but soon realizes the tree is actually a big stalk of broccoli. Thinking quickly, he decides to chew his way out of the tree and onto a nearby balcony. But an army is after him and soon he is brought to the king.
The king is very upset that Aidan has been eating the castle walls and nearby trees. Just as Aidan is about to be forced to 'walk the plank', he finds himself back in his chair at home, staring at an empty dinner plate. He had eaten all his veggies while pretending he was on an adventure!