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At this point in the 21st century I just have to assume that the majority of you readers know who Curious George is.  If you’re a parent you may know George quite well by now and if you’re not a parent you probably encountered the silly monkey and his yellow-hat friend at some point in your childhood. What started out as a darling children’s book series over 70 years ago has underwent several makeovers before George and his friends became the curious characters they are today.

Now the works of HA Rey and Margret Rey have been carefully reimagined in a Tribal Nova app.  Curious George and the Firefighters is the newest addition to the i Read With series, a growing library that already includes three other interactive storybook apps starring another childhood rock star, Caillou.  Tribal Nova has carved out a  decisively large corner of the App Store by producing high-quality educational kids’ apps that cover early learning skills from pre-reading to math to teaching preschoolers how to express their emotions.

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Curious George and the Firefighters features all of the characteristic HA Rey illustrations from the books so kids will easily recognize the lovable monkey and his partners in curiosity.  There are three different sections kiddos can choose: Listen, Read & Talk, and Theater.  There’s a broad range of skill levels being addressed from the preschoolers who aren’t yet reading on up to a first- or second-grade level and the Theater section offers creativity boosting as well as the potential for more than one player to join the fun.

In Listen, the story about George visiting the firehouse will be voice narrated and several easy sight words are highlighted for young readers to learn and repeat.  Read & Talk allows players to read aloud and record their own voices that’s played when the sight words are tapped, and Theater is an open-ended mini-game in which new George stories can be acted out in several scenes from the book and players can record their own unique story and play it back.  All sections offer interactivity in the reading and the accompanying illustrations.

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Once again Tribal Nova has produced a comprehensive kids’ educational app.  First – and probably foremost – they used a veritable rock star of the children’s literary world, an icon that almost everyone knows and loves.  This is the first step to engaging children, by centering the educational content around a relatable character.  Next, the app encourages further interaction by recording the child’s own voice reading aloud – and let me be the first to tell you there are few things kids like more than hearing the sound of their own voice.

My kids are 4 and 6 and have had an ongoing obsession of sorts with George since they were both babies.  My youngest nearly shrieked when I showed her that I had downloaded the app; she promptly removed the iPad from my hands and went off into a corner to explore for herself.  She needed a little help from her brother to figure out how to record her voice and which words she be recording, but he didn’t have to show her more than one time before she got the hang of it.  They both loved to make up their own little “George shows” in the theater section and having them create together only made it more fun for them (and for me).

At the promo price of $1.99 this app is definitely priced fairly considering the educational content it offers.  If your kiddos are George-obsessed (like mine) this is a great addition to your iPad library.

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