This book is the first in a series called Mabel's Fables. It is about a little chicken named Mabel who is on her way to a new farm to live. This farm already has an established henhouse with it's own 'pecking order'. When Mabel arrives, all the other chickens take notice.
This is an anxious experience for Mabel, until she is befriended by another chicken, named Frekle. By the end of the story, Mabel has settled into her new home with Frekle's help. My son really enjoyed this sweet tale about adjusting to a new environment, dealing with bullies and making friends. The illustrations appear to be sketched by hand with colored pencils and fit the story nicely. The text feels a little large and harsh next to the soft illustrations, but is otherwise easy to read and enjoy.
I particularly loved the way this story captured the chickens' personalities so well. The silkies proudly strut in and eat all of Mabel's corn, and the large hens frighten her with their aggressiveness after she merely bumps into them while trying to back away from the silkies. I had chickens as a child, including several wild varieties, ones that laid colored eggs and even a few big hens that bullied anyone new to arrive in their henhouse. The real social hierarchy of chickens translates nicely in this delightful children's story about being the 'new kid'.
This app has several nice features for a digital book, too. First, the settings are fabulous once you realize they are in the "Settings Menu" and not in the book itself. This isn't common but a really nice trend, allowing an adult to set up the book for a child. You can also narrate this title yourself. The narration it comes with is nice and crisp, but if you'd prefer not to have a British accent for the narration you can become the storyteller yourself.
There are also nice interactive elements throughout the book. These are usually the sounds of animals or farm equipment, but also the names of the people, hens and other objects on each page. As a wonderful reinforcement of both the story and early reading skills, if you tap on something that is in the written story, the word lights up as it is spoken. For instance, if you tap on the henhouse, the word 'henhouse' highlights in the text while the word 'henhouse' is said aloud.
This book really has everything you want in a good book for kids. It has an engaging story with meaningful life lessons and is nicely illustrated and narrated. Plus it really does what children's books are supposed to do ... it makes reading and learning to read more fun. Great for readers 6 and up and a delight when narrated for the under six crowd.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Two Big Dads
5 - 8 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 4 - 10
Mabel is on her way to a new farm. This little chocolate-colored chicken is excited to see her new family, especially since they have two children, Tom and Ben. When they come to get her, she clucks happily all the way to their farm. Then she is set up in the henhouse and given a few strokes and some feed corn. But Mabel is anxious now, realizing that she is surrounded by strange chickens who are ready to bully her.
At first Mabel is intimidated by the silkies, who steal her corn. Then she backs into a large hen that clucks angrily at her. Afraid, Mabel hides in a bush until another hen comes to befriend her. Freckle, the new hen, is very kind to her and listens to her fears about fitting in. She tells Mabel not to worry about the other chickens and that they will get used to her over time. Then Frekle introduces Mabel to her own baby chicks and lets her settle into the henhouse to sleep with a new extended family.