Jack and the Beanstalk by Mindshapes

App review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Jack and the Beanstalk by Mindshapes App Poster Image
Modern twists enhance classic, but core story remains same.

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A lot or a little?

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

Ease of Play

The app is very easy to navigate through as kids simply touch the arrow to turn the page. Some pages are built for interaction, such as opening the window to toss out the magic beans or outfitting the hero with his costume before climbing the beanstalk, but they're not necessary.

Violence & Scariness

The giant, of course, stomps into his home in a menacing fashion: "I'll grind his bones to make my bread!" he says, as part of his rhyme. The angry giant also carries a spiked club, which smashes into a cuckoo clock if you tap it. There is also a sword leaning up against the wall.

Sexy Stuff

The giant doesn't wear a shirt.

Language
Consumerism

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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Jack and the Beanstalk - Mindshapes serves as a modern interpretation of the classic tale, but it more or less follows the same story. The story, dialogue, and artwork are ideal for kids of all ages. The giant isn't meant to look too scary, as he wears sunglasses and falls asleep at the table.

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Is it any good?

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.

App details

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For kids who love reading

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