WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
There are six series of "tales" available so far: "Radbert" (about a 5-year-old monster who lives with a human family), "Inspector 9" (an adventure story about a parallel universe accessible through a magic bunk bed), "Trouble with Wishes" (a magical adventure story about a family of brothers and sisters), "Trunk Show" (about a little girl named Annie and her imaginative play), "A Little About a Lot" (a nonfiction show about how the world works), and "Dingus Fly, Private Eye" (a throwback to 1930s radio detective dramas). The first episode of each tale is available for free on the app, on the developer's website, and through several other vendors, and families can choose to purchase more episodes.
IS IT ANY GOOD?
The best thing about this app might be its developers' focus on the stories, not the technology, since they're most interested in using mobile devices to help parents and kids listen to a story together. Each story feels like an excellent audiobook because there's an easy-to-sing theme song for each series, and an excellent narrator reads each story slowly and imaginatively. As for the stories themselves, there are boy and girl (and monster!) protagonists whose adventures range from inadvertently making a bubble bath to discovering a secret parallel universe by way of a magical bunk bed. Plus, the nonfiction series "A Little About a Lot" is an approachable way for kids (and their parents) to learn about how things work. There are also listening kits available for use in families, in educational settings, and in health care settings. The only real drawback here is the price: Subscribing to every show could get pricey fast, but many families will find it's worth it after listening to a few of these absorbing stories.
RATING AND CONTENT
Recommended for ages 4 and older
Quality: 4 out of 5
Learning: 3 out of 5
Ease of play: 4 out of 5
Violence and scariness: 0 out of 5
Sexy stuff: 0 out of 5
Language: 0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, and smoking: 0 out of 5
Consumerism: 1 out of 5 (Are products/advertisements embedded? Is the title part of a broader marketing initiative/empire? Is the intent to sell things to kids?)
WHAT KIDS CAN LEARN
Devices: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Price: Free to Try ($0.99 per episode, $4.99 per season)
Release date: August 6, 2015
Size: 22.10 MB
Publisher: Tales Untold Media LLC
Minimum software requirements: iOS 8.0 or later
Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization offering unbiased ratings and trusted advice to help families make smart media and technology choices. Check out our ratings and recommendations at www.commonsense.org (c)2016 Common Sense Media Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.