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Toca Boo app review

toca boo title screenJust in time for Halloween, little ones can play Toca Boo (Toca Boca, 2014; iOS only), a virtual version of that thing where you sneak up on someone and yell “Boo!” A little red-spectacled girl pulls a sheet over her head and floats around her dark-and-shadowy house looking for victims; readers use their finger to lead her from room to room.

Tapping on the family members you encounter elicits a “Boo!” from the girl and a scream from each person. You get more boo for your buck if you first hide in one of the glowing-blue areas (under the covers, in the toilet, ew, etc.), and then tap the person. But watch out: if you’re caught in the family member’s flashlight beam or candle glow it means they’ve seen you first. Instead of being scared, they just think you’re cute: “Awww!” How embarrassing.

toca boo candle

The family members look kind of like Duplo figurines or Weeble-Wobbles meet Tim Burton. Twins, though pencil-shaped, are a little Shining-like, and the… grandfather, maybe? is perched on stork-like legs. (Why is their dog missing its head?)

toca boo twins

Pizzicato strings play in the background, along with some scary-silly sounds — moans, mumbles — plus lots of giggles. And lots and lots of BOOO!s. Personally, I’d take this virtual version over actually being “scared” by the real thing (i.e., a real-life child, let’s call him a five-year-old that lives in my house, who is going through exactly this sneak-up-and-boo phase). Happy Halloween!

Available for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch (requires iOS 6.0 or later); free. Recommended for preschool and early primary users.

For more Halloween recommendations, click on the tag Halloween books.

Elissa Gershowitz About Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is executive editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College and a BA from Oberlin College.

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