Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

The 39 Clues Madrigal Maze

The 39 Clues Madrigal Maze

Spring 2010 Mobile Apps
Ages: 9 & Up
Developer: Orange Design
Producer: Scholastic Inc.
Developer: Scholastic Inc.
Download Price: $3.99
Platform: iPhone/iPod Touch

Based on the bestselling series of children's adventure books, this app is one piece of the multiplatform phenomenon (10 books, online sites, collectibles, etc.) known as "The 39 Clues." Tap the screen and it transports you to a madrigal stronghold hidden inside a Aztec pyramid in the jungles of Central America. There, you guide your mini character (really mini on iPhone's screen) through one challenging and engaging maze after another using the touch of your finger. You'll hear footsteps, see guards closing in, sidestep watchdogs, flip switches that dismantle barriers, race against the time limit, and finally escape out the door. Solve these increasingly difficult labyrinths and gain steps toward learning the Cahill family secrets of world domination.

The app starts off easy and is intuitive enough so even younger players can get the hang of it. Educationally, mazes like these exercise logical thinking and think-fast problem solving. Plus, this app may prove to be the gateway for some kids to reading the series-and reading more worthwhile literature in general. Keep in mind that along with the potential benefits comes a dose of consumerism that aspires to Harry Potter levels. Did I mention Dreamworks has bought the movie rights?

Don Oldenburg   ©2010 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

Look for this product at:
Scholastic Inc.

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