A Parcel of Courage - a free interactive picture book with puzzles

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
A Parcel of Courage - a free interactive picture book with puzzles App Poster Image
Cute, kid-empowering interactive book and learning games.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn how to develop novel solutions to problems as they read (or listen to) this real-life story of kids helping their grandma overcome her fear of flying. This story also touches on lessons in empathy and kindness. Seven tasks and four games touch on basic preschool skills such as sequencing, color recognition, numbers, visual discrimination, and spatial organization. Note: Measurements mentioned on this app use the metric system.

Ease of Play

Easy to play, but navigation not always intuitive. Kids must double-tap to turn the book's pages, which helps to avoid accidental turning. Audio read-to-me option.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A Parcel of Courage is a storybook app with 15 interactive games, seven tasks, and four games created for kids age 3 to 7. Based on a true story, the kids help their grandma -- who is afraid of flying in an airplane -- gain the courage to fly to visit them. Players help the kid characters bake "chocolate courage cookies" to send to grandma. Among other skills practiced on this app, kids use spatial skills to pack a suitcase, prepare an envelope to send a letter, and match numbers to sets of items. Note: Kids can only access part of the I Play mode on the free version. The $2.99 version includes full access to games. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

First, choose I Listen, I Read, or I Play to start A PARCEL OF COURAGE. Tap I Listen and the audio story begins, or kids can use I Read if they want to read on their own. Tap on the people and objects around the room to watch them move, sing, and talk. The app gives some verbal prompts as well. Double-tap the arrow in the bottom-right corner to move to the next page. At the end of the story, you can include yourself in a photo of the characters' family on vacation. Tap I Play and four games appear, including a mandala-based color-matching game, a numbers game, a matching game, and a puzzle game. 

Is it any good?

This beautiful interactive storybook's message is sweet and empowering, though some navigation may not always be clear. The message is that kids can help solve grown-up problems and make a positive difference in other people's lives. As kids read about how the family helps grandma overcome her fear of flying, they also interact with on-screen objects and complete tasks, which are not too difficult. For example, the narrator instructs, "Please help the postman find the right doorbell," and kids tap 10 doorbells and listen for a matching doorbell sound. Other interactive elements are simply surprising and fun. The four skill-building games in the I Play mode are also just challenging enough for preschoolers. A pop-up "i" gives kids some extra instruction if they get stuck. In general, you get quite a lot for free, and the sweet story is empowering for kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the family in A Parcel of Courage helped their grandma overcome a fear with a positive, creative solution. Troubleshoot a problem together that could benefit from some creative, fun ideas.

  • Talk about what it feels like to miss grandparents or other faraway friends and relatives. Can you both imagine some creative ways to stay in touch across the miles?

  • The colors included on the mandala game are not typically included in kids' color games. Talk about these color names with your kids to increase vocabulary and note color shades and variations.

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