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Sparky & The Case of the Missing Smoke Alarms

October 11, 2014

By: Jo Booth


An app that makes learning about fire safety fun for little ones ...

Cupcake Digital has released Sparky & The Case of the Missing Smoke Alarms starring Sparky the Dalmatian. He has been the official mascot for the National Fire Protection Association since 1951, and is used to promote fire safety awareness beginning with little ones through grade school.

The app offers tons of extras from a music video that reinforces what to do when you hear a fire alarm to additional supports for activities, games for kids, and a stellar parent’s section at sparky.org. A teacher’s resource page has also been created at sparkyschoolhouse.org and contains lesson plans aligned to common core standards in math and English Language Arts.

The story covers what a smoke alarm sounds like and what to do in case of a fire. It sequences each step several times throughout the story to assist in retaining what to do when hearing a fire alarm sound. All text is highlighted, helping beginning readers to become more proficient and independent in reading along.

There seems to be a mystery in the air as Sparky and the gang try to help prepare for a grand opening party for Aunt Dotty’s new Best Beepers Smoke Alarm Factory. On arrival at her house, a stranger dashes out dropping a smoke alarm while making his getaway. Searching the house, they notice all the alarms are missing, and it is your mission to restore them. Each page is filled with hotspots and search and find tasks that emphasis fire safety awareness, as well as a bit of spooky silliness. It is just the right mix to keep kids entertained while learning, and I have to commend Cupcake Digital for adding to their repertoire of adventures for Sparky.

At the end, kids can take their picture with Sparky and there are prompts for discussion about fire safety and to get a feel for what kids retained from the story. In addition to the story, there is a game with multiple levels to help Sparky fly the super fire alarm in order to collect batteries and fire alarms. Catching ten unlocks the next level, but you need to do math questions to fully unlock the level. Younger kids may need help with the math questions. A catchy song about fire prevention accompanies the game. Pure perfection for capturing the attention of kids! Watch those pesky birds though, they drain your battery and then you can’t get enough lift to grab those alarms!


Teachers with Apps Reviewed Cupcake Digital’s Sparky’s Birthday Surprise last year just in time for fire prevention week. You can read all about this wonderful book by clicking on the link.

This app has been thoroughly evaluated by our staff. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how it fared in all nine of our rating categories. See synopsis tab for more details about the storyline.

This review was originally published by TeachersWithApps.com on July 22, 2014. Teachers With Apps was co-founded by Jayne Clare, a Special Education teacher, and Anne Rachel, an artist and Early Childhood educator. Jo Booth has been an Occupational Therapist for over 30 years, and currently works in Pediatrics with early intervention. She sees kids newly diagnosed on the spectrum as well as medically fragile kids. She loves to move, explore and play everyday; so that “her kids” grow up to be healthy independent learners.

Their goal is to be a credible resource for quality educational apps. Created to help parents, grandparents, teachers, administrators and anyone else, wade through the vast number of  ”educational” apps being introduced on a daily basis. Teachers With Apps was founded by two lifelong educators and is dedicated to the idea that quality mobile educational apps are the tools of the future but they need to be used responsibly. Remember, not all educational apps are created equal.

All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.


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Sparky & The Case of the Missing Smoke Alarms

October 11, 2014

By: Carisa Kluver

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Danièle Bour


Length (time):
15 - 20 Minutes

Based on non-digital book: No

Allows Own Narration:

Uses Motion: No

Age: 3 - 8 +

English •

Length (pages):
31 Pages


Story Synopsis - Sparky & The Case of the Missing Smoke Alarms

From iTunes:

Help Sparky the Fire Dog® and his pals solve a mystery!  Sparky and his friends stop by Aunt Dottie’s house to pick up items for the grand opening party of her Best Beepers Smoke Alarm Factory, but when they arrive, they spot a strange character sneaking away with a big bag.  Who is he and what was in the bag?  

Children and parents will love to read along and solve the mystery while learning key fire safety messages.  Plus, discover new interactions on every page!

Kids can choose narrated and highlighted text or click the mute button for read-to-myself mode, helping emerging readers and strong readers alike.
Learn about the importance of working smoke alarms, what to do when the smoke alarm sounds and escape planning.

Dance along to the music video starring Recess Monkey.

Play the interactive game, collect batteries to power up and smoke alarms to complete each level, and then solve a math problem to move onto the next level.

Guided questions encourage kids and parents to discuss and think about the story.

Includes ideas for educators about how to incorporate the app in the classroom and help kids learn about fire safety while practicing literacy and math skills.  This app includes activities driven by the Common Core State Standards.
Sparky & The Case of the Missing Smoke Alarms was produced by the National Fire Protection Association.


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Orientation: Landscape

Format: Universal


Read to Me, Read Myself, Game, Home, Music/Sound/Voice (Volume Controls), Pageguide, Video (What's That Sound by Recess Monkey), Links (under parental gate): Appstore, eMail, Web, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIN, Instagram, Web

App Release Date:


Size: 99.4 MB

Version: 1.0.1

Lite Version Available: No



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