Now that my kids are in school full time we don’t watch shows aimed at the pre-school set. That, along with my cable company’s decision not to carry PBS Kids’ Sprout programming, meant that Pajanimals: Light in the Sky was my first exposure to the four Muppet-like animals — CowBella, Apollo, Sweetpea Sue, and Squacky — who star in this playful bedtime story.
Light in the Sky felt like a full-fledged TV show in app form, with interactive playtime interspersed throughout the story.
Before the story begins, the Pajanimals sing an introductory song. The reader can skip this bit if she chooses.
The four friends are playing hide-and-go-seek before bed. As the story progresses it is punctuated with interactive mini-games, dubbed “playtime” by the app, that gently prompt the reader to see if any of the Pajanimals are ticklish. (Spoiler alert: they are.) The narrator repeats the phrase, “you can play with almost anything.” during each of the playtimes, which encourages the reader to experiment with the screen elements.
Although the story was probably created for kids under six years of age, by 8-year-old daughter loved it — probably because the graphics are so impressive that it didn’t feel “babyish” to her sensibilities, but I can imagine how enthralling the app would be for younger children.
The story’s loose plot centers around Squacky’s fear of the dark. The topic is handled so gently that children who share this fear are likely to empathize. But it isn’t just didactic, it’s funny too. Squacky worries aloud that the dark closet he was hiding in could harbor all manor of stuff including “canned beans,” “talking cheese” and “a crazy pirate named Nigel.”
Download Pajanimals: Light in the Sky from the App Store for $4.99. This universal iOS app will run on most newer iOS devices.
What I liked: The 3-D animation was impressive throughout the app.
What I didn’t like: It’s a matter of taste, but I would have preferred to have the playtime segments separated from the story, so as not to interrupt the flow of the narrative. While the interactivity was always fun and the graphics were slick, the playtime elements didn’t relate to the main story, so stopping to play them felt unnatural.
To buy or not to buy: Pajanimals: Light in the Sky is a great addition to any family’s bedtime routine. The story, which is simultaneously funny, soothing, and playful, does Jim Henson’s legacy proud.
- App Name: Pajanimals: Light in the Sky
- Version Reviewed: 1.0
- Category: Entertainment
- Developer: The Jim Henson Company
- Price: $4.99