The Princess & Her Pals 3D Interactive Book from Popar Toys uses a free-to-download Augmented Reality (AR) app to bring the story to life and the characters pop off the pages. You can read the book as is, which is a simple story about some colorful princesses who are getting ready for the Rainbow Ball along with their animal pals. Or interact with the pages using the downloadable app.
Enter the app and choose a mode of play. The first is Read-Along Book mode, which reads the story to you as you hold the app over each page. In this mode you can also interact with the characters by tapping the animation, moving the animation left and right to spin it, or pinch the screen to enlarge or shrink it.
You can also enter Cards mode. For this, you'll first need to cut out the animated AR cards located at the back of the book. Then place a card in front of your device's camera to interact with the characters. Here, you can make the princesses do different dance moves and scroll through different music. You can also interact with their corresponding pets and make them do different moves as well.
The final mode of play actually serves as a link to install a different app. Tap it in the current app to be redirected to the App Store or Google Play store where you can download it. Again, this app is also free. Hold your book in front of this app to create a ball scene with changing elements and backdrops for your dancing princess. In this app you can also create your own designer looks for your AR princesses.
This book puts a modern twist on the term "pop-up" book. We liked the AR cards at the back of the book, which place the characters within your own environment so it's as if the characters are standing right on your desk or bedroom floor. For little kids, we think this will have a certain "wow" factor.
However, while we like the concept of this AR book, we thought there was too much of a disconnect between the actual storyline and the interactions on the device. The book poses questions to the reader but the interactions don't seize these opportunities to expand the storyline. And simply tapping the screen a few times with each page turn isn't something we think will engage and hold a young child's interest for long.
Kids will want to be in command of the device to interact with the characters. However, it will likely be a struggle for them to hold their devices in just the right spot to keep the AR features on the screen to interact with for long amounts of time-the same goes for the cards.
The Princess & Her Pals 3D Interactive Book is for ages 3 and up.
The apps are available for free for iOS and Android devices.
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