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Review: ‘Berenstain Bears Go On a Ghost Walk’

Stan & Jan Berenstain’s stories of the Berenstain Bear family can be found on many home bookshelves, and now, on an assortment of electronic devices.  Here’s a tale for those looking for some holiday fare.

Screen shot from 'Berenstain Bears Go On a Ghost Walk' (Berenstain) Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Title: The Berenstain Bears Go On a Ghost Walk
Jan Berenstain and Stan Berenstain; this production also by Mike Berenstain
Developed by:
Oceanhouse Media, Inc.
iOS, requires 3.0 or later   
Berenstain Bears  

PreS-Gr 2-Just in time for Halloween arrives a Berenstain Bear story in app format. Entirely faithful to the print book by the same title (HarperFestival, 2005), the production recounts Papa Bear’s enthusiastic supervision of the school’s annual holiday fundraiser, forgetting (until he is reminded, of course), that “One person’s fun [may be] another person’s nightmare.” The production incorporates subtly spooky background music and sound effects that will thrill but not frighten youngsters.

In each of the three standard options (“Read to Me,” “Read It Myself,” and “Auto Play”), this interactive storybook offers a range of pictures and words to explore. Tapping on screens allows children to both see and hear identifying terms as they zoom to the foreground. Of note are the many scenes that present a variety of appropriate descriptions. For example, in one scene, when touching the story’s youngest—and frightened—bear sister, appsters will see, read, and hear the words “Baby Honey,” “angel” (her costume) and “cry.” Holding a finger over a word will cause the entire paragraph to be repeated.

The brisk, professional narration suits the story. In addition to sounds that enhance the holiday atmosphere, giggles and guffaws will be heard, but users have the option of disabling sound effects at any time. Children will enjoy seeing those familiar symbols (jack-o’-lanterns, bats, skeletons, and more) and in this format will be able to see some of the pictures from the book enlarged. Berenstain Bear fans will love this ebook application.—Mary R. Voors, Allen County Public Library Fort Wayne, IN