Sofia The First is the newest Princess addition to the Disney Royal Family and recent Disney application, Sofia the First: Story Theater. This iOS Universal app features a fun and charming story, and an equally as fun Sofia the First game. And 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 hit TV series called Sofia The First, a weekly show that debuted in January.
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, the app story follows along the same opening storyline.
This preschool Entertainment application features professional narrations with voiceovers from the actual actors of 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 simple 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 younger 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, 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 enjoy lots of interactive play in the Sofia the First game area, which is Sofia’s Puppet Theater. In the Sofia the First game area, 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 a 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. 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. However, placing a cutout piece was a little tricky and worked out best when using 2 fingers at a time to manipulate it.
I was charmed by Disney’s newest princess and think that there are going to be a lot of little kids falling in love with Sofia the First too.