My kids have been begging me to take them to see Brave but we haven’t had the time to go just yet. So when we had the opportunity to review Brave for LeapFrog’s Tag system and Leapster Explorer device we jumped at the chance. LeapFrog has always been one of our family’s favorite educational toy companies and we many of their products.
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In the story of Brave, Merida is destined to be the next Queen of Dunbroch but she needs to find a suitor first. Her Mum, Queen Elinor, decides to hold a competition for her daughter’s hand in marriage. However, Merida has plans of her own. She wants to be free to discover adventures in the great outdoors. So when the competition begins, she decides to try and win her own hand in marriage . . . and she does! Furious, her Mum orders Merida to marry which brings about a huge argument ending in Merida fleeing into the forest. Here she meets a witch disguised as an old woman and trades her for a magic spell that was supposed to change Queen Elinor’s mind. Instead, the spell changes the Queen into a bear. Now it’s up to Merida to find a cure and change her Mum back into her original human form.
Disney Pixar Brave Tag Book ($13.99)
The Tag Reading System has always been one of our favorite products from the LeapFrog product line. I have no idea how it works behind the scenes but it just blows my mind! The Tag Reader is shaped like a chubby pencil or stylus and has buttons for power on/off, volume control, audio books, as well as a headphone jack (YAY!) and a USB port. It runs on 2 AAA batteries (not included) and has a really smooth finish that comes in either green, blue, orange, purple, or pink. If you’re familiar with the older model of The Tag Reader you’ll notice that all the buttons are in the same place but the newly re-designed shape fits better in small hands.
To read the book, just touch the “book” icon and you can have the Reader read the page in it’s entirety or your child can move the Reader over each word one by one. This is good for words that they don’t recognize and would like to hear the pronunciation again. You can also touch various images in the book to hear sound effect or dialog. The Brave book has over 500 interactive touch points for your child to explore. There’s also a icon key chart on the bottom of the page which tells your child if there is a game that can be played on that page.
At the end of the book, there’s a full 2-page game that reinforces the story that your child just heard. Just touch the game icon and the narrator will tell your child how many spaces to move and then ask a question relating to the story. They’ll then have to decide if the question has to do with Merida or Queen Elinor but touching their respective pictures on the page.
We’ve used other type of readers before where you have to touch an icon at the beginning of every page so that the reader knows where you are. I really like that we don’t have to do that here since Kaila gets so excited to get to the next page that she usually forgets. You do need to touch the “book” icon to read each page but you don’t need to touch anything if you just want to hear random words or sounds associated with that page.
The Tag Reading System is a great way for my kids to learn about exciting worlds around them!
The Brave Explorer game begins with Merida telling the story of how her mother was turned into a bear by a witch. Now it’s up to Merida to figure out a way to bring her mom back into her human form. During the first zone, Merida must go through various rooms in the castle and find a way out. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds. There are various items that she’ll need to break out but they all have to be found in a specific order. This means that you’ll be going back and forth through the rooms to complete your mission. It’s a great way to test your memory and logic.
The next zones take place outside in the forest. Here you’ll actually come into contact with the witch who sends Merida on different tasks like finding a gold ring, planting seeds, and turning water into a magic potion. Once again, you’ll have to visit and revisit areas of the forest to find what you need. You’ll also come across other items like plants, insects, and animals which when tapped will bring up a pop-up screen filled with information and interesting facts.
There are a total of 5 zones that take you to various scenes throughout the movie. Each one is similar to the one before with different tasks and objects to explore.
Overall, we enjoyed playing Brave for Leapster. The mini-games were shorter than I expected but the kids had lots fun trying to shoot the bow and arrow onto the target. It was a great way to teach aim and gravity. I liked all the educational tidbits on the various plants and animals, however, I was a little surprised at some of the big words that were used. Even I couldn’t pronounce a lot of them. However, the best part was that Brave showed my daughters that being a girl doesn’t mean you have to be a damsel in distress. Who needs a knight in shining armor to rescue you when you can do it yourself?
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Owner of An Island Life. A mother to 3 beautiful girls and flight attendant . . . living a blessed life in Hawaii.