It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, from Canadian app developer Loud Crow Interactive, is a universal app and an adaptation of the classic Halloween story from Charles M. Schulz. If you are looking for a slice of Halloween nostalgia you need look no further. It has the orignal music, artwork and dialog from the TV Special and is narrated by Peter Robbins the original voice of Charlie Brown. You can switch the narration off, and control the background music level independently. The words are highlighted as it is read, and touching individual words makes them be spoken too.
The app opens to a old record player playing a record of the soundtrack and you then open a book to begin the story. The story is told as a pop-up book with animations and interactive elements. The story covers most of the story from the TV Special but without the scenes of Snoopy and the Red Baron. Linus jumps into the leaves, and Lucy pulls away Charlie Brown’s Football yet again. The main story centers around Linus’s belief in The Great Pumpkin. The gang goes out Trick Or Treating while Sally and Linus wait for The Great Pumpkin. As usual poor Charlie Brown ends up with a bag of rocks instead of candy and Linus has to wait another year to try to get a glimpse of The Great Pumpkin, but he never gives up hope.
The app has a number of interactive elements in it including falling leaves which you can touch to enlarge, getting Lucy to bob for apples, smashing pumpkins, collecting Halloween candy and playing the piano with Schroeder. The reader can also look out for bags of Halloween candy, and earn candy when they find them. They can also earn gold for successfully completing tasks within the app such as playing It’s a Long a Way to Tipperary correctly on the piano. It doesn’t have quite as many interactive elements as A Charlie Brown Christmas, but is still a fun adaptation. There is also an option to carve a pumpkin that then appears in the story, this is very cute and a fun activity for kids and they love seeing their pumpkin in the app, it does have a Facebook share button though which I would like to see childproofed.
The other extra activity is the option of choosing an avatar that looks like a Peanuts Character and dressing him/her in a Halloween costume, the avatar then appears in costume in the story. This could be a really wonderful addition to the app as the kids love dressing him up and seeing him appear in the story, however this option does include in-app purchases. There are a number of free costumes, and many, more available for purchase. Some costumes cost candy and some cost gold coins. You can earn candy in the app, and limited amount of gold too. What I really don’t like is that there are in app purchases to buy more coins that range in price from 99c to $29.99 ! I really don’t feel this is appropriate in a children’s app. To access the avatar and dress it up you have to create an account using an email address or Facebook log-in, this is an additional hassle, but it does mean that if you opt not to do this your child won’t have access to the dress-up section and in-app purchases.
Overall, both my myself and my children really loved the book itself, it’s not quite as interactive as A Charlie Brown Christmas, but its still a really fun seasonal book and already a favorite in my household. With the avatar dress-up option though we really do feel having a coin based IAP in a children’s app is not appropriate and should be removed. The free costumes and costumes you can earn, are a fun addition if you are using the app with IAP’s switched off in your settings, and if your children aren’t going to be begging to buy more paid costumes, otherwise I would just advise parents not to create an account to use this feature at all.
This review was originally published by TheiMum.com on October 26, 2012.
The iMums – Amanda, Alison, Mary and Grace – are four mothers from different parts of the world dedicated to educating parents about the best digital stories, educational apps, fun games and technology products available for their children. Founded in August 2011, the four iMums have 11 kids among them ranging in age from 1 to 17 and bring a global perspective to their app reviews with the original iMum Amanda being from Australia, Alison is in America, Grace is from Singapore and Mary is from the UK but is currently living in America. At less than a year old, the Australian-based blog already boasts hundreds of reviews on family friendly iOS and MacOS apps and products
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Charles M. Schulz
Loud Crow Interactive Inc.
8 - 12 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 4 - 9
"Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?!" Help Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the entire Peanuts gang as they struggle to find the true meaning of Christmas. Peter Robbins, the original voice of Charlie Brown, narrates the rebirth of the 1965 animated classic as an interactive storybook complete with original dialogue, digitally remastered illustrations, animation, and music optimized for your Apple device.
Play Schroeder's piano, finger paint with the gang, and go carolling with the Peanuts choir. Participate in the Spectacular Super-Colossal Neighborhood Christmas Lights and Display Contest to unlock decorations for your very own Charlie Brown Christmas Tree! With something to discover on every page, this is one interactive Peanuts adventure you won't want to miss this holiday season!!
* Original dialogue from the 1965 animated classic
* Captivating narration by Peter Robbins, the original voice of Charlie Brown
* Charming soundtrack featuring music and sound effects from the original show
* Decorate your own Charlie Brown Christmas Tree
* Participate in the Lights and Display Contest to unlock rewards
* Educational features such as word and note highlighting to help improve reading and musical skills
* Hear individual words spoken with the tap of a finger
* Touch and drag objects to make them “spring” to life or tilt to watch them slide and move
* Objects that literally pop out of the page to delight you and your family!
* Bookmark reveals handy "table of contents" to jump to any page in the book
* Universal App means this will play on all of your Apple Devices
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