My Parents Are Crazy! – by Confidence Through Characters, Inc.

 

My Parents Are Crazy! is an animated, interactive book app from Confidence Through Characters, Inc. It was created by Katherine Geerdes, an educator from Southern California, and is designed to encourage children to read. It has optional narration, word highlighting,(which can also be switched on in read-by-myself mode), and the volume of the background sounds can be adjusted. it also includes a “learn” section with colorful flashcards featuring the sight words from the app, the sight word is spoken if these are touched. There is a page navigation option, so it is easy to return to favorite pages. The app is child-friendly with no adverts, in-app purchases or external links. Through out the app the interactive elements are easily located as the character or object is highlighted.

 

Kids often complain about their parents expectations: going to school, healthy eating choices and chores, but one day Billy wakes up to discover his parents have totally changed the rules. His mum offers him a Banana Split for breakfast and a candy apple for a snack. Instead of going to school his parents are taking him and his sister Sarah skydiving, and dad wants to rock out on drums and guitar whilst Sarah is trying to sleep. At first Billy doesn’t know what to make of the change but he gradually decides his parents have gone totally crazy! First they are having a food-fight in the kitchen, then dad tells him not to bother cleaning his teeth or bother with shoes and socks when they go out. Not only room do his parents tell him a messy room is best they even untidy it for him! Just when Billy isn’t sure he can take any more of his parents crazy behavior something else happens…….. but you’ll have to read the story to find out what it is!

 

The book has very bright colorful cartoon-style characters. There aren’t interactive elements on every page, but those that are present do tie-in well with the story. The reader can create a banana split of their own; take part in the food fight; practice writing with whipped cream; and add to the cacophony by playing the drums and guitar, and getting the dog barking and whining along. Surprisingly, my kids favorite activity is tidying up Billy’s room – I wish they were that enthusiastic about tidying their own rooms!

 

I like how customizable the app is, making it suitable for many age levels. Young children can listen to the story with no text, pre-readers can listen and see the text highlighted as it is read, emerging readers can read along with the text-highlighting, and confident readers can read without the highlighting. It has realistic sound effects which can be turned down of off in the settings.The story is fun and a little crazy, it captured my 6 year-old twins attention as they wondered what will the crazy parents do next ? Although my 10 year-old did quickly guess what the plot twist would be. The illustrations are very bright and colorful and the interactions add to the story, and let the child work on their fine motor skills too. If a child is listening to the story with word highlighting, they need to press an arrow each time one block of text is completed to move on to the next, this gets them actively involved in the reading process even if they aren’t yet reading it, but it would be nice to have an autoplay option available as well.