The Good Dinosaur: Storybook Deluxe

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
The Good Dinosaur: Storybook Deluxe App Poster Image
Minimally interactive ebook; movie intensity, wonder endure.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn all about the adventures of Arlo, the sweet but often fearful apatosaurus. By setting their own pace and interacting with the each page, kids will dive deep into the story and meet all the important characters. As most kids'-movie stories are, this one is all about facing your fears, personal growth through perseverance, and valuing, appreciating, and protecting those who are close to you. Some kids will get it, but it's possible the positive messages of The Good Dinosaur: Storybook Deluxe will take a backseat to the games and adventure.

Ease of Play

Navigating through the story is easy and intuitive, but it's not always clear where to tap to activate animations.

Violence & Scariness

Many intense and potentially dangerous interactions among the main characters and menacing predators.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

There are ads for other Disney apps behind a parent gate, accessible by typing numerals that correspond to spelled-out numbers; kids who can read will easily bypass the gate. The app is also part of a large commercial network of Disney- and Pixar-branded merchandise and movie tie-ins.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Good Dinosaur: Storybook Deluxe is a faithful, interactive retelling of the basic plot points from the movie The Good Dinosaur. Story narration comes complete with music, sound effects, and animation, though parents can turn off the sound in the settings menu. In the story, the main character is a dinosaur named Arlo who embarks on an adventure after he gets lost and separated from his family. Just as in the movie, there are plenty of intense moments that may be scary for kids, including when Arlo and his father get caught in a flash flood and (spoiler alert!) the father dies after just managing to save Arlo. Other moments include roaring T. rexes (who later turn out to be friendly), close encounters with dangerous predators, and menacing natural disasters. The long and thorough privacy policy details the kinds of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

In THE GOOD DINOSAUR: STORYBOOK DELUXE, a cowgirl-accented narrator reads the story of Arlo the dinosaur who, after losing his father and getting separated from his family, learns to be brave and face his fears. Each page in the story has text, high-quality graphics, and music and sound effects. Kids swipe through and tap the screen to set some minimal bits of animation in motion. There are eight games sprinkled throughout, including building a shelter for Arlo, helping Arlo avoid pterodactyls on the attack, or bopping gophers on the head as they pop out of holes. Choose to read the whole story, go to specific pages, or just play the games. 

Is it any good?

Magnificent graphics and an emotional soundtrack are the shining features in this otherwise simple digital storybook with minimally interactive features. There's lots of wonderful eye candy, from realistic rainfall to wondrous fireflies. The dramatic music, roaring dinosaurs, and growling critters add intensity. Each page also has a touch of interactive content; though some are more exciting than others, these features are mostly underwhelming. The eight games are likely to appeal to kids and are well integrated but are also very simplistic and don't add much to the story. Many of the heart-racing battles are not quite as scary here because they've been turned into games, which puts kids in charge. One exception is the moment where Arlo's father is swept away in a flood, which is still incredibly terrifying. For kids who saw the movie, it's a nice way to continue the cinematic magic, and for kids who want to see the movie, it can be a way to ease them in to the many intense and potentially scary moments.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what Arlo learns on his adventure. How and why does he come to find his courage and face his fears?

  • Take a trip with your imagination. What would the world be like if the dinosaurs hadn't gone extinct?

  • If your kids are scared by any of the intense moments, be there to talk to them about their fears.

App details

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