Now Universal App! Angelina Ballerina is an adorable mouse who loves to dance, appearing for the first time in 1983 in a series of 20 books by Katherine Holabird and Helen Craig. This app is based on the TV series that began in 2009 on PBS and was digitally animated, making for a perfect 'transmedia' presentation as an interactive digital book. Each page of this well-produced app has stunning animation that is triggered by the tap of a finger, letting children bring their favorite characters to life in a way that is breathtaking within the otherwise still page.
In this story, Angelina gets a new ballet teacher, Miss Mimi, and learns a lot about opening herself up to new ideas about dance. Despite her anxiety, Angelina struggles to adapt and in the end is able to dance beautifully with the gentle encouragement of her new tutor. This is all told through a nicely written & narrated story, along with interactivity that reinforces the storyline as the animated characters repeat their dialogue or demonstrate ballet steps. The app also includes nice little hints with stars that appear to guide little ones if the page is tapped in the wrong place.
Throughout the story, ballet terms are highlighted, like plié and demi-pointe. Tap on any one of these terms for a nice description that beautifully explains the movement and purpose of the term within ballet and even has a phonetic guide for pronunciation. Additional educational enhancements include highlighting as the book is narrated, although this can be difficult to make out on pages with darker backgrounds behind the text.
In addition to the storybook, this app is truly packed with extras, including coloring pages and puzzles (with two difficulty levels) of every one of the 18 pages of the book. And for the true Angelina Ballerina fan, there are even 5 short (under a minute) video clips from the animated series to watch. This is definitely an app that can offer a child many re-reads and hours of fun. For the ballerina lover in your house, this app is sure to be a winner.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Katharine Holabird/Helen Craig
25 - 45 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 3 - 8
In this episode of Angelina's life, she is now 8 years old and anxious to please her new teacher, Miss Mimi. She struggles to adjust to Miss Mimi's use of jazz music and new forms of movement that challenge her more traditional experiences with Miss Lilly, her former teacher. After stumbling quite a bit and running off in tears, Angelina is joined by her new teacher who helps her understand the real lesson she was trying to teach. Miss Mimi simply wants the young dancers to become 'more open to new ideas'. The true meaning of this dawns on Angelina as she watches a bumble bee and she then dances a 'flawless grand jeté' while imaging that she herself is a flying insect.
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