StoryTime: Billy Goats Gruff

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
StoryTime: Billy Goats Gruff App Poster Image
Classic fairy tale with kid-friendly prompts, creepy troll.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can practice reading with or without the support of a read-along track. They can also work on reading comprehension with the built-in kid prompts. 

Ease of Play

Easy to navigate. 

Violence & Scariness

While this is a familiar tale and it's animated, the troll is mean and scary, and the biggest billy goat responds to him by butting him off of the bridge. 

Sexy Stuff

Link to the publisher's other apps from the main page, but access to this link is controlled by a setting in the parent area. Kids can click on it, but will receive a message that they aren't able to access store links.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents needs to know that StoryTime: Billy Goats Gruff is an ebook version of the fairy tale of the Three Billy Goats Gruff. Younger kids may find the grumpy troll to be scary and may also be upset or frightened by the idea of him eating the billy goats. The resolution is as expected, and the troll falling down ... down ... down ... may also upset young kids. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the information collected and shared.  

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What's it about?

In STORYTIME: BILLY GOATS GRUFF, the three billy goats have eaten all of the grass in their field and long for the grass on the other side of the bridge. Unfortunately, there is a grouchy and hungry troll who lives under the bridge and who does not want them to pass. As each goat crosses, they trick the troll into letting them go uneaten until the final billy goat arrives and knocks the troll off the bridge. In the Read to Me mode, there are occasional prompts that appear as a sun icon during the story that ask kids additional questions to encourage active reading and comprehension. Aside from Read to Me, parents can select Read by Myself and Picture Mode. 

Is it any good?

While keeping the basic plot intact, this semi-interactive ebook offers comprehension-building prompts that are too easy to skip. StoryTime: Billy Goats Gruff has some cute illustrations, and it stays true to the story many of us grew up hearing. The voice acting is pleasant and the music is relatively mild. The "Kids Prompts" are the app's most unique feature, and they do add another dimension of learning that lots of ebooks don't. The problem is that they only appear in Read to Me mode and only as a sun icon on the bottom of the screen. Unfortunately, many kids will blow right by them unless they're using the book with an adult. If another character -- acting as narrator -- popped up to pose the questions, kids might be more likely to pay attention to them and interact. As it stands, the story is definitely best read with an adult who will help with the prompts and discuss the biggest goat's head-butting solution.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about fairy tales like the one in StoryTime: Billy Goats Gruff. What is true about them? What's pretend? 

  • Talk about mean behavior. What should you do if someone is being mean to you? Are there ever times when it's OK for you to be mean to someone else?

  • How do you like this app as compared with other apps you could use? If you had to choose the best use of your time on a screen, would you pick this app over other apps on your device for reading stories? Why, or why not?

App details

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For kids who love ebooks and reading

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