The Monster at the End of This Book (for iPad) ($3.99) by Sesame Street is the iPad rendition of a favorite childhood book from Sesame Street. But is this app a worthwhile purchase to share with your little one?
Long ago, before Elmo took over Sesame Street, Grover was the most lovable, furry old star of the show. TV show merch wasn’t quite as big back in the 70’s, but there were books like this to delight little kids. What is fun about this book is not the story itself, which is pretty simple, but the interaction between parent and child. The premise of the book is that Grover sees the title and is scared. He begs and begs you not to turn the pages, not to get any closer to that scary monster that must be coming at the end of the book. I still remember my parents’ gentle teasing and joking as we got closer and closer to the end. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but don’t worry, it’s not a scary one.
So how does this sweet 70’s story translate to modern times? Well, I may be a little biased, as this book is so deeply entrenched in my brain as to be practically in my DNA. I memorized it many years ago, so I couldn’t resist smiling as the familiar words danced across my iPad. I can’t say that everyone reading it for the first time will have quite the same experience. Still, the app stays true to the book and adds a little bit extra.
Unlike some book apps, this one is read to you. There is no option to read it yourself. I’m not sure I love that. As fun as it is to hear Grover’s voice, when I was a girl, I got to hear my mom’s or my dad’s voice, which was infinitely better. Still, Grover is cute, and it is enjoyable to hear him and see him in action. And I suppose you could simply mute your iPad and supply your own voice. In the top right corner, you can tap an icon of Grover and his mom. This gives you helpful tips for parent-child discussions, such as asking your child to read Grover’s facial expressions and body language to determine how Grover is feeling. Throughout the book, there are some things the child can tap on to make things happen, but they do not distract from the story, in fact, they only enhance it. The focus is on the story, not the bells and whistles.
My only real complaint is that I did find it to be a little bit slow and laggy. It goes at its own pace, you can’t speed it up. It’s ironic, considering that in the 1970‘s, Sesame Street, with all of its “fast action”, was criticized for shortening kids’ attention spans. All these years later, here I am complaining that their app is too slow. Still, it is a worthwhile app to add to your book app collection if you have a Sesame Street fan in your house. If you prefer to share books with your child on your iPad, this is certainly one you’ll enjoy together. And unlike many other iPad book apps for children, there is not a lot of nonsense for your child to tap that would take away from the story. I didn’t find this app to be far better than the book per se, but it is a faithful rendition of a favorite classic.