Penelope the Purple Pirate is a wonderful story for kids about a little girl who doesn't want to take a nap, so while stuck in her room, she dresses up and then imagines she is a pirate out at sea. She wears a purple sash and has friends among the sea animals. She rides on the back of the turtle to find an island and search for treasure. When she 'returns' from her adventure she is ready for her nap (tired from all her travels, perhaps?).
This book features simple narration with a tiny bit of animation, like sparkles around the treasure. The sound effects that were added in the update are really nicely spread out, with something 'hidden' on nearly every page. They are things like splashing water, dolphin clicking sounds, music from toy instruments and several places where tapping Penelope causes her to say something that re-inforces the storyline. A nice addition, on the last page of the story, is a bit of instrumental music that plays for a couple minutes; it was a relaxing way to end a bedtime book.
Among the really interesting touches in this book is that the animals Penelope plays with as her 'pirate' self all have different physical disabilities. It is also notable that Penelope does not take all the treasure. She says, "Let's just take a few goodies and leave the rest for the next adventurous pirate." Penelope embodies many pro-social behaviors that are a good example for children to see and hear about in a story.
But the best thing about this story is that it is fun and engaging, right from the first scene where Penelope doesn't want to take a nap, grumbling "NAP TIME? But I'm too old for naps!" It captures perfectly the way children resist sleep, play around in their rooms to avoid it and then eventually succumb to the tiredness that the parent knew was under all that whining.
There are questions at the end of the book for further discussion with your child, including "If you see someone with a disability, do you think he or she would like you to say 'hi' and be friendly?" Most of the questions in this little guide focus on the details of the story and further enhance reading comprehension. In addition to this parent guide at the end is a list of "Ideas for the classroom and/or home" that includes ways to expand on the story. The treasure map & treasure chest ideas sounded especially fun. In addition, there are also several pages of details about the sea animals pictured in the story - the sea turtle, octopus and dolphin. These 'extras' make this an excellent title for a classroom 'digital storytime' as well.
This book is solidly made and has easy page turn in the style of other PicPocket books. The only thing I would add would be a home button or way to navigate around the book, especially to get to the great activity ideas at the end.
[This is a republished review from 2/1/2011 - the developer was extremely responsive and got out quickest update I've ever seen!]
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Melissa Northway/Paul Johnson
Take 2 Ventures LLC
8 - 12 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 3 - 8
Penelope the Purple Pirate tells the story of a little girl who pretends to be a pirate looking for buried treasure. She is supposed to be taking a nap, but instead travels in her imagination (first dressing as a pirate with a purple sash, of course). We follow her through the book as she imagines that she is on a pirate ship, traveling in search of treasure. She befriends three sea creatures: A dolphin with an eye-patch, A turtle with a missing flipper (an oar is in its place) and an octopus with a hook in place of one of his tentacles. She rides on the back of the sea turtle to an island where they play, build a sand castle and hunt for treasure. When they finally find the treasure, she suggests they take just a little of it (something for each of them and her mom), so that other adventurers can find it later. The story ends with her falling asleep, tired after all that 'traveling'.