Based on an old-school Sesame Street skit and later adapted to a children’s book, The Great Cookie Thief for iPad is an interactive storybook starring Cookie Monster. Your child can read the tale and help the Sherriff find out who the Great Cookie Thief is.
A long time ago when the West was wild, there was a town with a problem. All the cookies kept getting stolen. But when Cookie Monster walks in, looking suspiciously like the picture in the Wanted poster, everyone is too scared to check and see if he’s really The Great Cookie Thief. The Sherriff will then appoint your child an official deputy and ask to help him figure out if Cookie Monster looks the same as the Wanted poster. This section is particularly neat because it really gets your child involved in the story.
Your child will then need to point out three things about Cookie Monster that look the same as the Wanted poster. There are actually several things to choose from, and the ending has multiple silly conclusions. Your child will want to read it again and again to find them all. The authentic storybook visuals really bring the story to life with lots of animation and voices.
But the fun doesn’t stop when the story ends. Your child can go to the Create mode to make his or her own Wanted posters using characters from the story, or take pictures of themselves and others with the iPad camera. They can draw or add silly stickers to the poster, and then parents can help e-mail it or print it out. There is even a nifty parents section with great learning ideas and questions involving the lessons learned in the story.
The only problem I had with this app is how the text is presented. While the characters speak their lines, the words are highlighted. But the text disappears after they talk. You can tap on characters and objects before turning the page and they’ll say other things. But it would’ve been nice if the text still stayed on screen. Then your child could tap on words and the game could speak those words, similar to how other early reading devices and programs work. But unfortunately this app doesn’t do that, though it would’ve been totally possible to do.
Other than that, though, this is a really cute little app that young Cookie Monster fans will love. It’s easy to use, no reading skill is needed, and the price is right. However, if you are going to get this app, I would also recommend tracking down and getting the actual book as well. As cool as the iPad is, nothing can replace sitting with your child with a real book, reading the story and pointing at words and physically turning pages. Kids will love both ways to read the story, I bet. When I was little, I was reading at three or four years of age (I don’t remember ever NOT knowing how to read), and I credit that to my parents always reading to me as a kid. So reading to children often is something I strongly believe in.