Lucy & Pogo

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Lucy & Pogo App Poster Image
Sweet story teaches inclusion with charming art, activities.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about being open to everyone and respecting differences, and the activities touch lightly on counting, spelling, puzzle-solving, and music. The story's message pinpoints the fact that it's exactly the differences in all of us that make us work best as a society: You can do things that others can't, others can do things that you can't, and together we can accomplish great things.

Ease of Play

Advancing through the story is very easy, though it's not always clear what to do with some of the interactive features.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Lucy & Pogo is a digital storybook with a handful of interactive elements. The story is about Lucy, a cat who's not allowed to go to school with her neighbor, Pogo, a dog, so Lucy dresses up like a dog and names herself "Rocky" to go to school. When the whole class gets into trouble, Lucy saves the day. The story's message stresses openness and respect for differences. There's a chase scene in which dogs are aggressively excited about going on a "cat hunt," and there's a bus accident that leaves the bus hanging precariously under a bridge, so sensitive kids may feel somewhat anxious about this tension. There's also some potty humor, which will likely delight kids: In one scene, kids need to help a dog aim his urine stream to help "water" a mushroom. Kids need access to the device's microphone for one of the activities, and narration is available in English, French, German, Polish, and Spanish. The developer's privacy policy clearly states that the app doesn't collect or share information of any kind.

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What's it about?

In this animated digital story, LUCY & POGO, a cat and a dog, are neighbors, but they don't talk to each other because cats and dogs don't get along. Lucy wants to go to school like Pogo, but only dogs are allowed, so Lucy decides to disguise herself. When the class gets into trouble on their way to chase cats, Lucy saves the day and accidentally reveals her true identity. The dogs realize that a belief they took as truth isn't valid, and the school is opened to all animals that want to attend. Along the way, kids can interact by helping Lucy dress up like a dog, counting Lucy's claws, and more.

Is it any good?

This minimally interactive digital story has wonderfully whimsical graphics, gentle music, great narration, and a heartwarming message of inclusion. It's a great message, and some kids may get it right away, but other kids will need a bit of help. The interactive features add some fun but aren't particularly deep learning tools. It also isn't always immediately obvious what kids are supposed to do, and sometimes the story doesn't advance until kids interact. Clearer indications may help keep kids -- especially younger ones -- from getting frustrated. A precious few interactive features, such as the music making, let kids play and explore for as long as they please. This is a nice feature, and it would be even better if there were more of them, because it leaves room for a bit of open exploration in an otherwise very scripted app. The story is relatively short and may not have a whole lot of staying power, but all in all, Lucy & Pogo tells a sweet story with great audio and visuals.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the positive learning message. Why did the dogs not like Lucy at first? Why did they accept her in the end? What lesson did the dogs learn?

  • Help kids bring the learning message out of the story and into their own lives. Have you ever excluded someone or felt excluded yourself? How did it feel? How did you resolve the situation? Is there anything you can do to help someone feel welcome?

  • Read as much as you can to your kids, whether from a digital device or a traditional book. Talk about the differences between listening to a story on an app versus from a paper book. Is one more exciting than the other? Why? What can each onedo that the other can't?

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