Ansel and Clair: Paul Revere's Ride

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Ansel and Clair: Paul Revere's Ride App Poster Image

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Fantastic app makes historical figures relatable for kids.

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about the historic events, places, and everyday life of people in the American Revolution with Ansel and Clair: Paul Revere's Ride. Working through the interactive story, mini-games, maps, illustrations, and more helps kids get a solid first look at the main issues and people that led to the revolution. Words related to the time ("rebus") and government ("taxation without representation") are peppered throughout the story, helping kids learn relevant vocabulary. This is an excellent way for kids to learn about the political events, important people, and everyday life during the American Revolution.

Ease of Play

Tap the "i" icons to view information, art, and an "x" icon and arrows show kids how to move from one scene to another. Locks on arrows mean kids cannot move forward unless they complete other portions of the page they're viewing. Hands point out where to go next, and verbal cues tell kids to take photos of certain items for a book. Kids can access an excellent tutorial and a table of contents from the main screen.


Violence & Scariness

Frank (but not gratuitous) discussions and a realistic photo (depicting redcoats gunning down colonists) explain the Boston Massacre, in which unarmed colonists were shot and killed, as well as general themes of war and revolution.

Sexy Stuff

There's an "Ansel & Clair" more apps tab on the main page, but you need to solve a math problem before it will move you to the App Store for purchase.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ansel and Clair: Paul Revere's Ride is an interactive app for kids to learn about the beginning of the American Revolution and about Paul Revere. Ansel and Clair are aliens who come to Earth to learn about this historic time. Puzzles and mini-games (such as matching the 13 colonies by their shapes into a U.S. map or dragging bags of tax money away from angry colonists and toward King George) help kids learn about life in the colonies, from their geography to taxation without representation. Kids can also take photos of things they see and write their observations in a journal. The app includes multiple choice quizzes to check if kids are learning the information. 

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What's it about?

Click on "Choose a Player" and enter your name. Play the tutorial, which tells kids all they need to know to play the game. Next, the story begins and quite quickly the first interactive element (a puzzle of the 13 colonies) appears. Once the puzzle is complete, kids meet Paul Revere. He begins teaching in brief lessons -- with lots of supplemental images and interactivity -- about the life and times of the American Revolution. The entire game experience will likely take most kids a few play sessions to complete.

Is it any good?

ANSEL AND CLAIR: PAUL REVERE'S RIDE is an excellent way to introduce grade-school age kids to the time in history surrounding the American Revolution. With Paul Revere as the main character, kids progress through the Boston Tea Party and other important happenings while learning tidbits about daily life in the colonies. The mini-games also help kids practice vocabulary, matching, and more.

Ansel and Clair: Paul Revere's Ride playfully makes historical figures relatable for kids. For example, in one scene when Ansel asks why shutting down Boston Harbor was a big problem, Paul Revere replies: "Are you kidding, Ansel?" There's also a modern-day photo booth where kids can take photos of historic figures. One caveat: The vocabulary and some of the mini-games may be too difficult for younger grade-school age kids, so parents should be available to help if they get stuck. Overall, this is a top-notch history app.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Remind your kid to watch the entire tutorial on the main screen before starting.

  • Ask your kid: What do you think it was like to be alive in that time as a revolutionary, as a British loyalist, as a soldier, or as the king? What were some of the values that made Paul Revere do what he did?

App details

  • Device: iPad
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, vocabulary, writing
    Social Studies: citizenship, government, historical figures, history
    Arts: painting
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: solving puzzles, thinking critically
    Emotional Development: perspective taking
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free to try ($2.99 unlocks all contents)
  • Release date: December 17, 2012
  • Category: Education
  • Topics: History
  • Size: 167.00 MB
  • Publisher: Cognitive Kid, Inc.
  • Version: 1.1
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 4.3 or later (not compatible with iPad 1)
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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