The Great Cookie Thief - Starring Cookie Monster

App review by
Erin Wilkey Oh, Common Sense Media
The Great Cookie Thief - Starring Cookie Monster App Poster Image
New version of classic book has kids solve the mystery.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn to make observations and look for differences in size, shape, and color -- an important pre-reading skill for young kids, who must be able to see differences in the shapes of letters and numbers. As kids follow along with the story, they encounter new vocabulary and practice analyzing evidence and making conclusions. Kids can also express creativity in the wanted poster activity. The Great Cookie Thief – Starring Cookie Monster engages young kids in critical thinking and can help them develop essential early reading skills. 

Ease of Play

The story and wanted poster activity are both easy to use. Cookie Monster gives a tutorial on the main menu and in the poster activity, and other characters provide frequent guidance throughout the interactive story.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

The app is based on a classic Sesame Street picture book of the same name. A small link on the title screen links to ads for more apps by the developer. There are in-app purchases within the "Create Your Own Wanted Poster" activity; kids can choose from two characters to put on their posters for free or purchase additional characters for $.99 each.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The first scene takes place in a Wild West saloon; however, the bottles on the tables and stacked behind the bar are shaped like milk bottles and are clearly labeled "MILK." But even with no alcohol in sight, the scene includes many details of a typical saloon including a customer with his head down on the table, a spittoon on the floor, a long bar with bottles behind it, and a bartender.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Great Cookie Thief – Starring Cookie Monster is a fun and educational adaptation of the classic Sesame Street book of the same title, in which the sheriff of a Wild West town suspects Cookie Monster might be stealing the town's cookies. Kids take on the role of deputy and help determine whether Cookie Monster is the thief depicted on a wanted poster by making comparisons and looking for subtle differences in size, shape, and color. Minor content concerns include a spoof of a saloon scene (it's a milk bar -- see details under "drinking") and a few in-app purchase options in the poster activity.

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What's it about?

THE GREAT COOKIE THIEF – STARRING COOKIE MONSTER is an interactive story about a Wild West town plagued with a serious problem: Someone is stealing all the cookies! The story is animated with highlighted text appearing in speech bubbles above the characters' heads. When Cookie Monster walks in, the town sheriff asks the reader to help compare him with a wanted poster of the cookie thief. Kids tap on similarities, and the story continues with text based on their choices. An extra activity allows kids to create their own wanted posters using a personal photo or an image of a Sesame Street character.

Is it any good?

The Great Cookie Thief – Starring Cookie Monster is an adorable adaptation of the classic picture book written by Emily Perl Kingsley and illustrated by Michael Smollin. The app's animations bring the original artwork to life with distinct character voices, fun theme music, and film-like transitions between pages. As an educational app, it stays true to its purpose with carefully supported learning tasks and a wealth of tips for parents to extend the learning.

On the down side, there is a bit of lag during scene transitions that will be more or less noticeable depending on your device. And the in-app purchases are a bit disappointing considering the target audience is preschoolers. But these minor complaints are easy to overlook, especially for Cookie Monster fans, who will be delighted to spend some quality time with the googly-eyed blue guy.   

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Check out the tips for parents to extend learning. The app creators provide some gems such as Tip #8: "Encourage your child to describe a character on the screen without telling you which one."

  • Ask kids to identify similarities and differences between items in your home. Ask, "How are these two things different? How are they the same?"

App details

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