Sofia the First: Story Theatre is a delightful, interactive app based on the children’s animated series on Disney Junior.
We are not familiar with Sofia the First in our home so I did not have any expectations about this book. I am happy to say that I am very pleasantly surprised with what this app has to offer.
The plot of this story is both very traditional but also has a modern sensibility to it as this tale opens up with Sofia’s mom marrying into a royal family. In this blended family, at first Sofia feels very out of place by becoming newly royal as well as not being treated very well by her new siblings - especially her step-sister.
I enjoy how well the characters for this tale are written, in first person from Sofia’s point of view as well as the very effective animated moments one can find by tapping on the included illustrations delivered with a lot of polish, effectively pantomiming both the actions as well as emotions being described - often silently and never in a way that is remotely distracting.
I also enjoy the tie-in with the fairies from Sleeping Beauty as well as Cinderella, which did not seem forced in any way.
Although I did have to raise an eyebrow when Cinderella explains how she should have given her own step-sisters a second chance, I admire how the concept of forgiveness is included as well as the step-sister explaining her motivation for being mean in the form of an apology that children can also learn from, creating a moment I did not expect.
Some details involving magic are included that one would expect from a story involving a fantasy such as this, this is a relatable tale that young girls - especially those from blended families - can relate to.
I throughout this app have appreciate how music and sound effects are included in this story yet can be muted separately from the narration - a nice touch. Auto play is also an option, as is the ability to read this book by oneself. I do think, however, that one should be able to turn back a page if so desired - not possible at this time.
One can use the menu to find a previous page if needed, but the ability to swipe or arrow tap to forward the pages should work in reverse as well.
A puppet show is also included allowing one to choose characters, background props and music. Move these characters around the screen recording the sounds and movements of these elements in action for a nice effect.
I have seen a few puppet shows such as this, and I am happy with the ease in which one can have a character or prop enter and leave the scene - gameplay one can take for granted until interacting with an app that makes this basic function difficult - fortunately not an issue here.
It is worth noting that this section, styled as if using paper puppets, does not allow one to resize or have these puppets turn to each other to engage in dialogue, but consists of cutely drawn images both polished and low tech in the way one would expect paper puppets to be for a very nice effect.
My son is not much into princesses so it is doubtful that Sofia the First will be a show we gravitate towards, but I do recommend this app to families who have princess children, and I from what I have seen that this TV series is worth checking out as well - especially as Sofia does not have the terrible sense of entitlement often seen in other princess stories.