A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Pooh's Birthday Surprise is an interactive storybook app with activities that focus on early preschool education. The plot involves Winnie-the-Pooh's friends planning a surprise party for him. Text will be highlighted as it is spoken aloud by the narrator and along the way, kids will get to take part in several activities and games, such as icing cupcakes and choosing balloons. The activities all center around preschool lessons, like pattern recognition. At the end of the story, kids will also be tested on what they remember from the tale with questions like ("Which friend brought the party hats?").
Is it any good?
POOH'S BIRTHDAY SURPRISE is very well designed for preschoolers -- from its easy-to-use interface to its on-target lessons about colors, patterns, and simple logic. The activities are nicely blended into the story, making kids feel like they're really helping to prepare for Pooh's party and not just being tested on basic mathematical concepts. There's even a bit of creative freedom allowed in the ending, when children get to design Pooh's birthday cupcake and serve it to him. The pop quiz at the end that asks readers to recall facts from the story -- a sort of "Were you paying attention?" test -- is a fresh-feeling and interesting feature that would be nice to see in more children's book apps.
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