It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown Review: Good Grief! A Kid’s Book With IAP
I was delighted when I saw that Loud Crow Interactive had released It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, their second interactive Peanuts storybook. Their first effort, A Charlie Brown Christmas, was a fun and memorable storybook that my kids and I loved. Unfortunately, on many levels, It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown is a solid step back from its predecessor.
It’s not the fault of the source material, and in fact the Great Pumpkin storybook is just as well designed and narrated as it was in A Charlie Brown Christmas. Once again, the original voice of Charlie Brown is back to read the story, and once again the tale of the television special plays out with actual audio clips from the show (minus the Snoopy and a WWI flying ace scenes, which also are, disappointingly, often edited out for television). It’s a great way to experience the story.
Unfortunately, flipping through this book is not as fun as it was in A Charlie Brown Christmas. Great Pumpkin lacks the variety of fun little interactions that Christmas had. There’s one page with an interactive piano, the same as the one in Christmas; a couple of pages with breakable pumpkins; and a few other little things; but often the only interaction to be had is the equivalent of a paper pop-up book. Figures jiggle when you tap them, and once you complete a page’s narration they repeat key lines. It’s fun, but not as fun as Christmas was.
Great Pumpkin tries to make up for it with some out-of-storybook interactive elements. Specifically, your child can create a Peanuts avatar complete with Halloween costume, and then watch as their avatar appears alongside the Peanuts gang during the story; they can also “carve” a pumpkin and have it show up in the story. This is fun for kids, and it could be a great feature. The problem is, the avatar function is tarnished by IAPs.
Yes, this interactive children’s storybook features an in-app coin that must be purchased with real dollars. Of course the best avatar Halloween costumes cost real money, and of course little kids want to try them all on; and so kids are bugging mommy and daddy for IAPs. Ugh. Granted, the IAPs are not necessary to enjoy the rest of the app, but their mere presence is off-putting. It’s a horrible choice on the part of the developers. I would have preferred they kept the price point at $6.99 and left IAPs out of it.
It should be mentioned that Great Pumpkin, like Christmas, is really meant for the iPad. Sure, it’ll run on the iPhone, but it’s really not designed for the small screen. The interactions and fun demand the larger device.
Loud Crow’s second effort at Charlie Brown is a solid step backwards from their first effort. My kids and I had fun with the Christmas app, and I really wanted to enjoy the Great Pumpkin as well. It’s not that the app is terrible; it’s just that it could have been better.
Our score: 3 out of 5