For some people, reading can be a wonderful experience. But for some children, whose mind and body are almost constantly in motion, sitting still for a long time to stare at a book can be a challenge.
If this happens to be the case with your junior, I have an interesting book app that may help alleviate the problem: The Adventures of Captain Underpants. Published by Scholastic, the app is an adaptation of children's graphic novel of the same name by Dav Pilkey.
It's a Bird! It's a Plane!
The Adventures of Captain Underpants is a cheeky tale of two fourth-grade boys, George Beard and Harold Hutchins, who like pulling pranks at everybody. They also love writing comics, even coming up with the greatest superhero ever: Captain Underpants.
During the school's football game, George and Harold carry out a series of elaborate pranks that causes the game to be cancelled and everyone at the school miserable. Their act is captured on tape by the mean principal Mr. Krupp, who threatens to expose them if they do not follow his demands.
In an effort to get out of their unfavorable situation, George and Harold hypnotize Mr. Krupp into handing them the incriminating video. They also fool around by telling him to act like Captain Underpants, which he obliges.
Things soon turn complicated when Mr. Krupp takes on the role seriously, and runs off to fight crimes. Fearing that they may get into trouble, George and Harold chase after him. They catch him just in time before he gets arrested by the cops, only to tumble into the lair of the evil Dr. Diaper and his robot minions who plan to take over the world!
After a few comical scenes featuring fake dog doo-doo, a robot battle, and a giant explosion, the troublesome trio manages to capture Dr. Diaper and soil his plan. They tie the villain to a pole in front of the police station, and quickly make their way back to school.
Finally, George and Harold snap Mr. Krupp out of his hypnosis by dumping water on him. Unfortunately this does not completely undo the effect, and at the end of the story we see that he still transforms back into Captain Underpants whenever he hears finger snaps.
Parents Need to Know
The Adventures of Captain Underpants features the exact story as the paper edition and color illustrations on every page. The app encompasses 20 chapters of various lengths, which translate into around 40 fully narrated pages.
Also included are fun activities that complement the story. In Chapter 2, you can read George and Harold's hand-drawn comic book. There is also the Flip-o-Rama, which lets you flip back and forth between pages to animate a cartoon battle.
The app also includes three arcade-style mini games. The first and the third games are variants of vertical shooting games where you tilt the iPad to move your character and zap the enemy above you. The second mini game is a gyroscope-enabled maze game.
These games are integrated at different points in the story, although you can skip them if you do not wish to play. Additionally, you can select them from the menu selection screen.
An avatar maker lets you create silly avatars with crude names to use in the mini games. There's also a soundboard where you can can mix and match different sounds and beats.
Things I Like
The Adventures of Captain Underpants is a great adaptation of an existing book that I enjoyed reviewing. It is entertaining, filled with zany humor that you will either love or hate.
Some parents may be turned off by the potty jokes, but it is aimed at young boys ages 7 to 10, and I can tell you from experience that they can be fascinated with really gross things. If anything, I think the silliness is effective for enticing reluctant readers who would rather play outside than read a book.
Visually, the app is attractive with its comical illustrations and parallax effect. However, it is the narration the really makes the app come alive. Easily one of the best I have ever heard in a children's app, the narration provides different voices for the characters. This breaks up the story nicely, and makes it easy for readers to follow along.
The ambient sounds, like the sound of a noisy classroom or explosions, are nicely done as well. I am willing to bet that your kid (or even yourself) will keep chanting Captain Underpants' signature battle cry ("tra-la-laaaa!") when they are done with the app.
The mini games are a nice touch. I personally think that the app is entertaining enough without them, but juniors will likely enjoy playing them. I do wish that they are a bit more polished, though. They are not bad, but they do not feel as tactile as the rest of the story.
One thing that I have to warn you about is the app's file size. At a whopping 806 MB, it can take a while to download. Please make sure you have a good connection and enough space on your device.
The Adventures of Captain Underpants is a really good adaptation of a famous children's book. The app features the exact story and comical illustrations from the book, but formatted well to fit the iPad. The narration included is top-notch, and there is a lot to do in the app even after you have completed the story.
If your family is already a fan of Captain Underpants, you will love this app. If you have never heard of him, it is a delightfully silly tale that will have young kids in fits of laughter.
The Adventures of Captain Underpants is available for iPad
Get it on the App Store: iPad
App was provided for our honest review.