StoryToys Jungle Book

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
StoryToys Jungle Book App Poster Image
Classic story retold with games; beware in-app purchases.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about the characters and basic plot concept from a classic children's story. They'll practice fine motor skills with the puzzles and creative expression with the stickers.

Ease of Play

Easy to tap arrows to advance through story pages and verbal instructions precede mini-games.

Violence & Scariness

Some mild sense of threat when the tiger seems to be threatening Mowgli. 

Sexy Stuff

The home screen shows a large collection of additional locked storybooks, puzzles, and sticker collections. Tap on any of them to see a video preview and purchase options. A large icon on the bottom of the screen jumps up and down and pulsates with light; tap on it to see print ads for other apps from the same developer. A parent gate blocks all purchases.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that StoryToys Jungle Book is an independent retelling of the classic tale with games and activities interspersed throughout the narrative. Before they start reading, kids can choose autoplay, read to me, or read on my own. The graphics resemble a 3D pop up book, and kids can move their device a bit to see everything from slightly different angles; make sure that kids can move the device around safely. The story also comes with a sticker activity and a puzzle game. The sticker game asks permission to access your device's camera roll to save the pictures your kids create. StoryToys Jungle Book is part of a series of classic stories, and kids can see all available titles as locked options to scroll through on the home screen. Tapping on any of them show multiple purchase options including buying individual titles for $1.99 or buying the whole library for $22.99. In the parents' menu, parents can turn off in-app purchases, store links, and a more apps page, but the ads still remain. Parents can also turn off the background music or choose to use the app in one of seven languages. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

Tap the icon in the upper left corner of STORYTOYS JUNGLE BOOK's home screen to choose Read to Me, Read it Myself, or Autoplay (the default is Read to Me).  Or, tap on the unlocked book with Mowgli on the cover to jump in immediately. The book opens and, unless you chose Read it Myself, a narrator begins reading. Tap the arrows to turn the pages. Every few pages, the book reorients to a 3D pop-up and introduces a short game that e.g., asks kids to pick thorns out of mama wolf's paws. Tap the icon in the top right to see a menu of the games. Back on the home screen, tap the puzzle or the sticker icon to play with characters and scenes from the story.

Is it any good?

This drastically simplified version of a classic story includes 3D graphics, easy to play games, and lots of opportunities to buy more content. StoryToys Jungle Book stands out mostly for the quality of its 3D graphics and its simple, though not particularly sophisticated, games that will easily appeal to young kids. The text quality is so-so, and because the developers condense a long story into a dozen or so pages, there are many huge narrative leaps that aren't quite explained. But, most kids would be interested in this app because they can interact with familiar characters and not because they're looking for quality literature or creative game play. Parents do need to beware of a significant push to buy more stories from the same series however. All books, puzzle packs, and sticker collections (12 each) appear on the home screen with a big lock on them enticing kids to want more. And an icon advertising other content from the developer jumps up and down begging kids to tap on it. The in-your-face presentation of opportunities for in-app purchases may be enough to turn parents off completely.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the characters and plot points of StoryToys Jungle Book. Does your kid know the story? What do they like about it? Who is their favorite character and why? Is there any part that's scary?

  • Discuss your family's policy for making in-app purchases before you hand over your device. What are you willing to buy, if anything?  Why do the developers put all that locked content in the app?

  • If your kids really like the story, check out the original. Look for Rudyard Kipling's collection of stories, The Jungle Book, from your local library. Or, if appropriate for your kids, look for one of the many Jungle Book movies.

App details

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For kids who love book apps and classic books

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