Parents' Guide to

Jack and the Beanstalk by Mindshapes

By Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

Modern twists enhance classic, but core story remains same.

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The version of Jack and the Beanstalk you read as a child probably didn't begin with Jack playing video games, nor did it let you interact with objects on the page -- but you can expect both in JACK AND THE BEANSTALK BY MINDSHAPES. The core story remains the same: Jack sells the family cow for magic beans and climbs the thick beanstalk into the sky; he faces off against a giant and escapes with valuable goodies to help his family out of poverty. But now you get to chop the beanstalk down by swiping your finger, the giant has "fum" tattooed on his knuckles (as in "fee fi fo fum"), and you can tilt the iDevice to have Jack soar up the beanstalk.

As with most other children's books on the iPad, this tale can be read by the child or parent, or a narrator can read the book aloud. With the latter, the words are highlighted when the narrator says them. Tap Jack and other characters and items and see animation and hear comments -- but be forewarned Jack's whiny voice is a little annoying after a while. The combination of e-book, audio book, and games will likely give this app some longevity, and the sleek animation, music, and sound effects are also worth noting.

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