OOKS

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
OOKS App Poster Image
Make stories with super silly choices, limited creativity.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about storytelling. Opportunities to choose plot direction and color some story props allow kids to contribute creatively to the story. When kids explore the story choices, they'll see how different choices can lead to different results.

Ease of Play

Each step is clearly explained and easy to do.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Kids can use the app without buying anything, but there's a push to purchase the finished book, and that hardcover book is part of the major appeal of the app.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that OOKS is a guided storytelling adventure that lets kids make choices and contribute drawings at key points during the story. When the story is complete, for £14.99 -- British pounds -- plus £2.99 for shipping, parents can buy a hard-copy book that features their kid's name as author. Before kids can play, parents must register with their name and email address. When kids make a new story, parents get an email with a link to view and buy the book. The settings menu has an option to turn off the music, but doing that will also silence the narration. At the time of this review, there was only one story available for kids to complete; it's unclear when additional stories will be added and whether they'll be free or will require in-app purchases. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your information is collected and shared.

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What's it about?

Kids start OOKS by answering some questions -- like what's your favorite color -- to make their own personalized creature, or "ook." Then they explore the Ookiverse and choose a story. As the story progresses with your kid's ook as the main character, there are a handful of opportunities where kids can contribute. Sometimes, kids choose a prop or decorate something in the story. Other times, kids choose which direction the story will go. When the story is finished, kids can ask their parents to buy the book and have it shipped to their house.

Is it any good?

With lots of silliness, this choose-your-own-adventure story will certainly get kids giggling, even if there is limited opportunity for their creative side to shine through. The world of the OOKS is just the right amount of kid crazy. Ooks themselves are silly combinations of your kid's favorites -- color, food, animal -- and they visit places like the marshmallow volcano or the café where kids can choose overcooked bellybutton fluff or a scrambled shoe as the day's special. It's easy to imagine kids having fun as they make their way through a classic story of good vs. evil with their own character as the hero that helps good prevail. But, as a story creation app, OOKS is less successful. There are a few key points here and there throughout the story where kids can provide input by coloring a chef's hat, or choosing from two options for how their ook will solve the story's main conflict. But the bulk of the story and drawings is all preset. Though it's exciting for kids to see their name on a book, given the price tag, more opportunities for a kid's unique creativity would be even better.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the choices the ooks can make in the story. Why did kids make the choice they did? What could happen if they make a different choice?

  • Encourage kids to tell their own stories. Kids can draw and you can write down what they say as they narrate their story.

  • Read as many books as you and your kids can get your hands on. What genre is their favorite? What do they like best?

  • If you're looking for a platform where kids can write their own stories and/or design their own illustrations, look to the many apps and websites that give kids an open canvas for creative freedom.

App details

For kids who love storytelling and book apps

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