A Christmas Carol for iOS

App review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
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Lovely, imaginative, spooky rendition of Dickens' classic.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

Most of the time, sparkles or snowflakes make it obvious how the reader must interact with the page. But a few interactive elements are not as clear, and readers may find themselves tapping all over the page, wondering exactly what to do. These are not the majority of the pages, though.


No violence, per se, but there is some very spooky imagery, especially involving the ghost of Jacob Marley and the Spirit of Christmas Future, which could frighten younger kids.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Pipes are smoked. On one page, readers must move around a lit pipe and use it to "heat up" frozen text.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A Christmas Carol for iOS presents an abridged (though not too abridged -- a majority of Dickens's original text is present and accounted for) version of the holiday classic. This is the original language, so some of it may be difficult for younger kids to follow. Also, there's no narration -- you'll either have to read the story to your kids, or they'll have to read it themselves. Also, be aware that there is some very eerie, spooky imagery used here.

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Is it any good?

A CHRISTMAS CAROL FOR IOS makes for a very interesting and entertaining reading experience. This version of the Dickens classic (with the majority of the original text intact) actually requires the reader to interact with it in order to see the whole story. On many pages, you will have to do something -- open a window, unlock a door, melt some ice, etc. -- in order to see the next bit of text. It's a great way to pull the reader in. The illustrations and overall visual presentation are quite lovely, even if some of the interactive and decorative elements seem completely out of left field. This version has an overall steampunk theme, so there are a slew of interesting little machines that you can stop and start, for instance, but what those gadgets have to do with A Christmas Carol, we can't say. One thing the app does remarkably well is create an eerie atmosphere of dread -- the spooky parts are really spooky. Kids ready for the creepy scenes -- and the Dickensian language -- could find this a very nice introduction to a classic.

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love holidays

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