The Tortoise and the Hare | Arloon kids

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
The Tortoise and the Hare | Arloon kids App Poster Image
Cool use of tech lets coloring come to life; botched moral.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can express their creativity and see their work come to life as they hear a popular fable. The traditional moral -- slow and steady wins the race -- is presented as advice not to laugh at someone who is slower. The tortoise laughs about his victory, though, not exactly modeling the moral himself. The text is written in cursive, so kids learning cursive will get practice reading it, and the story can be read in Spanish or English. Overall, The Tortoise and the Hare Arloon Kids is more about creative expression and technology use than reading practice or delivering a lesson in morality.

Ease of Play

As long as the page is colored with enough contrast to clearly show the black outlines, navigating is simple.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Tortoise and the Hare | Arloon kids is an interactive storybook app that uses augmented reality to incorporate kids' coloring into the 3-D story. Parents can go to the Arloon website and print the two coloring pages, one of a tortoise and one of a hare. When kids color the pages, it's important that the contrast between the colors and the black outlines of the coloring sheet remain, so it's best to avoid using black or brown or other really dark colors. The story itself includes the moral at the end -- "Never laugh at those who are slower than you" -- but the tortoise is laughing and pointing at the hare, which doesn't model a forgiving spirit or an appropriate response to victory. The story is available in Spanish and English.

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What's it about?

Using THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE | ARLOON KIDS begins with kids coloring the pages found on the Arloon website, then scanning them after opening the app. Instantly, their coloring turns into a 3-D interactive scene. The scenes carry into the story, with the tortoise, hare, trees, flowers, and insects colored as the kids did. The story is read aloud, and kids interact occasionally to advance to the next part of the story. Kids can reset the pages to scan again and watch the tale unfold with a different color scheme. They also can read along with the story with the illustrations already colored.

Is it any good?

Though the story itself isn't very interactive compared to most, and the text is in cursive, which isn't going to be readable by all kids, the augmented reality works impressively well. The thrill of seeing what they've colored come to life on the page is delightful, and kids will probably want to color another page and create the story again -- which is quite easy to do. The story's a classic, but the moral is changed up a bit and that laughing tortoise is pretty disappointing, negating the point of the moral.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about other ways the tortoise could respond to winning the race. What are some other possible morals to this story?

  • Read other versions of "The Tortoise and the Hare" together and compare them to this tale.

App details

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For kids who love reading and coloring

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