Sofia The First is the newest Princess addition to the Disney Royal Family. If you haven’t met yet, you can find her on the Disney Junior/Disney Channel (Fridays at 9:30 a.m. PST/8:30 a.m. CST) in a new hit TV series called Sofia The First — a weekly show that debuted in January. Disney Publishing also introduced Sofia the First to the iPhone and iPad world through a new digital Books app called Sofia the First: Story Theater. As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, this iOS Universal Books app features a charming and animated story about Sofia the First, but it also comes with a fun bonus activity…..a Royal Puppet Theater featuring characters from the story.
Watch the Sofia the First: Story Theater app video now!
It’s not hard to fall in love with Sofia the First because she is a sweet and kindhearted girl who just happens to be a commoner. After her mother marries King Roland II, she finds herself in a new family struggling to adjust to a whole new life as a Princess — and a whole lot of expectations that go along with that. Just like the first Disney Junior episode, this iOS Universal Books app follows along the same opening storyline. The digital book is professionally narrated with voiceovers from the actual actors of the the Sofia The First show. But the narration can be turned off allowing you and your child to read together at your own pace, if you choose. The user interface is easy with simply swipes or taps on the arrow icons to turn pages. You can also jump to any page using the convenient page index slider. The only thing I’d like to be different in the navigation is a parental “lock” on the Disney “D” icon to prevent kids from leaving the application to explore other Disney apps.
This book is sweet, charming and perfectly suited for young readers. Kids will be thrilled to see the usual Princess “pomp and circumstance” seen throughout the storyline, as is associated with all of Disney fairytales. What little girl doesn’t dream of being a Princess? The artwork is richly colored but feels soft and pretty. And the simple animations on each page come to life with a tap of your child’s finger. The animations are fun and engaging, but definitely minimal — being appropriate for the young age group. The music is (of course) “Classic Disney” all the way. And when you get to the end of the story, you’ll understand why Sofia is Sofia the First.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that some familiar characters made an appearance: Cinderella and the “Sleeping Beauty” fairies Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather. There are 21 pages within this Sofia the First storybook app, but it seemed like a blink of an eye and I was at “The End” — which left me wanting more. But young kids won’t be too disappointed when they get to the end because after they read the wonderful story, they can create and play in Sofia’s Puppet Theater. In Sofia’s Puppet Theater kids are free to explore, create and record their own personal stories, which can then be saved to a gallery and viewed again later. There are variety of backdrops, characters, props and music that will encourage your child’s imagination to run wild with Sophia the First.
Kids have an option to select up to 3 storybook characters at a time from the 8 available, 3 backgrounds (of 6 available), 4 (of 6) props, and 1 (of 3) musical style choices when creating their own show. All the pieces to the Royal Theater remind me of the flat paper doll cutouts that many of us played with as kids. These paper cutouts can be moved and place anywhere on the screen. Placing a cutout piece was a little tricky — and worked best when using 2 fingers at a time to manipulate. Almost all of the play pieces can be enlarged or made smaller, which is a nice touch when trying to size them to fit in with the selected backdrop. I can easily see this create-and-play-storytelling theater becoming a favorite thing to do for a lot of kids who are surely going to fall in love with Sofia the First too.
Download The Sofia the First: Story Theater App Now