Pan: The Fearless Beribolt
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What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Pan: The Fearless Beribolt is a pretty storybook app about a little panda-like creature with interactive elements on every page. The book's story line about Pandora ("Pan") and the Beribolt Tribe is interesting -- although sometimes a bit disturbing -- and ends with a cliffhanger. First in a series of stories, this tale includes Pan's parents disappearing under mysterious circumstances when she was young and adults in the tribe lying to Pan about what happened. Also, Pan accidentally sets fire to a village, and one of Pan's friends is eaten (then spit out) by a monster plant. There's a photo booth where kids can take their pictures with book scenes and email them. The cute illustrations and more than 100 interactive elements make for a fun book-app experience for kids who aren't sensitive to the more dramatic elements in the story line and who are OK with no resolution.
What's it about?
Read and listen to the story simply by tapping Play on the main screen (you also can turn off narration here). Swipe up on the bottom of the page, and view the story's written words highlighted as they're read aloud by the story's characters. Tap the arrow key to turn the pages or tap on characters or watch for the arrows and pulsing circles to find the interactive elements. The photo booth includes images from the story in which kids can pose to take pictures from the mobile device's camera and then email them to friends.
Is it any good?
Every single page in the beautifully illustrated, rainbow- and cloud-filled story of PAN: THE FEARLESS BERIBOLT has numerous interactive elements, and some have mini-games. Yet the story itself has some seriously strange twists and turns, which may be especially difficult for younger kids to comprehend. For example, when Pan plays with fire and sets fire to a village square, someone yells, "Pan is so cool!" and another yells, "Yeah!" while a baby cries, "Mommy, I'm scared!" Pan later apologizes to the villagers, but it sends an oddly mixed message to kids about playing with fire.
Also, Pan's village elders lie to her about why her parents are gone, and they constantly, harshly correct her behavior throughout the entire story. Pan and her parents aren't yet reunited in this story (perhaps in Book 2?), so kids don't even get the comfort of a resolution for this cute critter. All this may be upsetting to some kids and require more parent explanations and commentary than the average storybook, while other kids may focus on the interactivity and the illustrations. As a result, this artfully designed, wonderfully interactive app can be recommended only with significant reservations regarding the story line.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about Pan's family relationship and how it affects the story. Why does she want to find her parents?
Ask your kids whether they like virtual books or paper books better. What's the difference?