Picky Kid Rating: 2.2
Teeny Tuca – Rooster’s Race is a book app about a small rooster (actually a baby, we think, since he wears a diaper) who overcomes his tiny size and [spoiler alert] wins a giant golden corncob at a local event to save his owners’ farm from foreclosure and the evil clutches of banker Tony Black. If you think this sounds a bit too mature for your two-year-old, we agree.
When you start the app, you’ll first choose whether you want to play/listen in English or Portuguese, depicted by United States and Brazilian flags. You can then choose to read the story yourself, have it read to you, and — in the full version — pick from various “pages” in the story to view, or play a game by selecting “fun”. You cannot change the language on the fly while reading the story, so make sure you pick the one you want first!
The developer for this app is based in Brazil, and there are some parts of the story that are awkwardly translated (or poorly written to begin with), though you’d never know that from the narration, which flawlessly reads things like “However, on that day, Stutter Rooster didn’t crow as he usually did, and all the animals remained asleep.” Each page is illustrated with interactive scenes. Kids will have have fun exploring these scenes (there are usually two or three tappable objects) even if they can’t fully understand the story. To turn pages back or forward, there are arrows to the left and right of the story text at the bottom of the screen. This is good for preventing accidental page turns. We’d like to see the developers add the ability to re-play the text on a page by tapping it. Currently, you must page forward and back to replay a page.
You’ll get about a third of the story with the free app — the rest can be purchased as an in-app purchase for $2.99 — though I’ve seen it with special pricing as low as $0.99 too.
It’s a fairly significant story — 35 pages in all, so you won’t likely be disappointed by the volume of content. But the content itself needs some improvement. First, there is a lot that’s too sophisticated toddlers, and marginally appropriate for older kids. For example:
- One of the characters gets sick because he was out late partying.
- The farm will be lost to foreclosure and the evil banker will own it if Teeny Tuca doesn’t win the race.
- Teeny Tuca is bullied and called a “loser”.
- The same bully has metal blades on his beak, scaring Teeny Tuca “to death”
- If your kids repeat everything they hear, they might be saying “damned” after reading this one.
On the positive side, the overall messages are good ones, things like “try, and have confidence in yourself” and “you don’t have to be big to be fast”.
With the full version of the app, you’ll also receive the “Fun” — which at the time of this writing consists of one game, a dress-up game inappropriately labeled “Stickers”. In this activity, kids can put various outfits onto Teeny Tuca. You can dress him up as a cowboy, a football or baseball player, and more… He even has a top hat and a little tuxedo with a fancy matching diaper. This activity would be better if the clothes “snapped” to the correct position when dragged onto Teeny Tuca, and also if they reduced in size when you drag them off of him.
The music, voiceovers, illustrations and animations are all fairly good in this book. But in addition to the challenges with content outlined above, we’ve also experienced random crashes with this app, where it closes itself for no apparent reason. There are also details that just bug us — like Teeny Tuca’s name being spelled “Teeny Tuca” in the story, but “Teenny Tuca” in the title screen. (What can we say, we’re picky!)
Overall, we don’t recommend Teeny Tuca – Rooster’s Race for toddlers. Older children may get more out of the story, and you can try the free version before making the in-app purchase for the full book.
[The developer requested a Picky Kid App Review and paid a fee to expedite this review.]Review: Teeny Tuca - Rooster's Race iPad App,
Teeny Tuca - Rooster's Race
Played on: iPad 3, iOS 5
- iTm Sense
Price: Free with in-app purchase