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The Pirate Princess ~ 3D Interactive Pop-up Book

January 27, 2014

By: Eleanor Holland


A high energy and entertaining pop-up 3D interactive book featuring piratey humor and swashbuckling adventure.

StoryToys is, as far as I am concerned, the pioneer developer for 3D interactive pop-up books. I’ve seen other developers attempt to rip off some of their ideas to little avail. What I also appreciate about StoryToys is that they are continuing to tweak their format with new ideas and original stories. This app, the latest in their series, is more slick and visually impressive than the previous books, and they are really utilizing the iOS features to create excellent and engaging interactive books.

Strangebeard — The Pirate Princess is an interactive book with 3D pop-up pages full of mini-games which complement the storyline. The story is original and the plot will appeal to preschoolers and young school children — it’s so full of unbelievable events of irreverent swashbuckling nincompoopery that it’s almost as though it was drafted by a young person’s imagination.

The main protagonist is a bored princess who is moonlighting as a pirate. Even her name is kid’s humor — hmm, it’s very strange that this pirate doesn’t have a beard; why yes, we’ll call her Strangebeard! It is refreshing to have an app aimed at the younger market that features a girl who is not a Disney Princess impersonator. Strangebeard (aka Princess Isabel) is not girly in the least, and this interactive book is going to appeal to both little girls and boys. My four year old girl has been playing it ad nauseum, and taking much delight in all the piratey adventure and humor. 

If you’ve seen the other StoryToys pop-up books, you’ll be familiar with the format and layout of the story. There is story with text, followed by the 3D pop-up bit, which is an interactive game. The games are high energy and engaging and presented with excellent instructions, and each game adds a level of comprehension to the storyline. The graphics and animations are seamless and top notch, and you really do feel that the pop-up section of the book has come to life. There are nine mini-games which have a good variety of gameplay — there is a puzzle map to piece back together, a silly dance competition, cliff jumping from ledge to ledge, a sea monster with oodles of tentacles to obliterate, a revolting stew to cook, and more. Check out the video demo below to see all of the mini-games in action — they really are loads of fun.

The app is easily enjoyed by little ones — I’d say four and up — but the sheer amount of text means that young readers are not going to be able to read this themselves. My only complaint is that the text doesn’t highlight as it is read, but really, my feel for this "book" is that it’s more of a listen-along-you’re-being-told-a-story type, than a learning-to-read aid. So I’m okay with that. The story is quite lengthy, so I was pleased to find a drop-down menu where the player can jump to different parts of the story.

The music and narration are both simply excellent and beautifully executed and rendered. It is fully narrated in several languages (English, French, German and Spanish) and there is the option to use the app in Read to Me, Read it Myself, and Autoplay modes. There are no ads, no in-app purchases and the external links to social media and other StoryToys apps are behind a parent lock.

I have downloaded and been bored through so many interactive books. StoryToys has got this one right. It manages to be high energy and engaging without losing the feel of reading a book. Even the mini-games (which I normally feel are a cheap trick for engagement in an ebook) work to bring the app together as a whole. It’s a whole new world of interactive book entertainment. It is storytime come to 3D pop-up life.

Highly recommended.

This app has been thoroughly evaluated by our staff. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how it fared in all nine of our rating categories. See synopsis tab for more details about the storyline.



Author Eleanor Holland sings yo ho ho and a bottle of rum, just for you. SmartAppsForKids.com was paid a priority review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.

This guest review was originally published by SmartAppsforKids.com on November 19, 2013. SmartAppsforKids is one of the top review sites for kids educational apps, games and books. They strive for meticulousness and honesty in their reviews, both positive and negative. Their goal is to be the most complete source for parents and educators looking for reliable info on an app before making a purchase.

All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.


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The Pirate Princess ~ 3D Interactive Pop-up Book

January 27, 2014

By: Carisa Kluver

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Grimm Brothers

StoryToys Entertainment Limited

Length (time):
12 - 18 Minutes

Based on non-digital book: No

Allows Own Narration:

Uses Motion: No

Age: 4 - 8 +

English • French • Spanish •German •

Length (pages):
10 Pages


Story Synopsis - The Pirate Princess ~ 3D Interactive Pop-up Book

Aha me hearties! Ready for a swashbuckling adventure? When Isabel the Princess goes to a party dressed as a pirate, she starts on an incredible, action-packed adventure filled with pirate galleons, fearsome monsters and fruit-flinging monkeys. Release your inner pirate with adventurous mini-games: piece together treasure maps, dance a pirate jig, then show off your sword skills with some fancy pirate fightin’! 

Yo, ho ho and a bottle of rum! There’s puzzles to solve and laughs along the way. Will the Princess escape from the scoundrel Captain Peg? What’s the secret pirate recipe? And just who is this Strangebeard anyway? [Source: iTunes]


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Orientation: Landscape

Format: Universal


Read to Me, Read it Myself, AutoPlay, Music On/Off, Home, Language (English, French, German, Spanish), Credits, Privacy Policy, Links (under parental gate): AppStore, In-App Purchases, eMail, FaceBook, Twitter, Google+, Web

App Release Date:


Size: 117.83 MB

Version: 1.0.3

Lite Version Available: No



The Pirate Princess ~ 3D Interactive Pop-up Book

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