MIXUP picture book

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
MIXUP picture book App Poster Image
Tying familiar stories in knots is fun but a bit threadbare.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about getting creative with familiar storylines. Mixing up characters and plots may inspire them to tell their own stories, perhaps by integrating familiar ideas in new ways to create something totally different.

Ease of Play

Kids simply tap arrows or their character choice to advance the story.

Violence & Scariness

Familiar kids' stories have some potentially disturbing moments such as a people-eating wolf.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that MIXUP picture book takes characters and plot lines from three well-known stories and lets kids combine and mix them in funny ways. "Little Red Riding Hood," "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves," and "Cinderella" get all twisted up as kids choose which story to insert at various key points. Parents can turn audio and text narration on and off through the home menu. As anyone familiar with "Little Red Riding Hood" knows, kids may run across some scenes in which a hungry wolf eats some character(s) or other scenes where the wolf gets cut open. Graphics and narration coverage of these plot turns are very gentle, but particularly sensitive kids may be affected. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your information is collected and shared.

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What's it about?

Three familiar stories get all tangled up in MIXUP PICTURE BOOK. Start with a hungry wolf looking for Little Red Riding Hood. When the wolf finds her and asks where she's going, kids step in to continue the "Little Red Riding Hood" story or choose to insert characters and the plot from "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" or "Cinderella." As the story continues, kids have several more chances to choose how the narrative plays out. When the story is finished, start again from the beginning and make different choices to see what happens.

Is it any good?

This mishmash of characters and plots has such potential for fun and creativity, so it's unfortunate that the actual execution underwhelms. MIXUP Picture Book starts from a great premise and uses simple and appealing graphics to illustrate its stories. A couple extra features -- namely, the ability to turn the audio and text narration on or off -- give users nice flexibility in how they want to experience the stories. Kids will likely get a kick out of some of the silly directions in which they can take these stories, mixing the 40 thieves with Little Red Riding Hood or putting the glass slipper on a wolf prince instead of Cinderella. Overall, however, the app's offerings feel sparse. It could be so much more with longer stories, more options, and more crazy combinations. As is, it won't take long for kids to discover all the different twists and turns, and the stories are so short there's just not a lot going on. MIXUP Picture Book is perhaps best used as inspiration for getting creative with storytelling: The app will give you a start, but take the idea and run with it to explore an infinite number of amazing story possibilities.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the original versions of the stories in MIXUP Picture Book. Find picture book versions or tell the stories by heart and let kids delight in these classic stories.

  • Make your own mixed-up stories. Have kids draw pictures and help them write a narrative to mix characters from their own favorite stories.

  • Continue what kids start with the app. They can think of alternative endings or keep the story going after the app closes it off.

App details

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