At the Beach or En La Playa is a delightful digital title for the iPad. It is filled with lovely beach scenes that depict a typical day at the ocean's edge. Every page is full of animated sea creatures & birds, along with interactive elements that animate briefly. The book also has a nice assortment of activities at the end that include reading comprehension questions and other education activities related to an ocean theme.
The story itself is very short, but tells a poem-like tale about a day at the beach. The interactivity ties nicely to each page's text, although there isn't a lot of 'plot' to reinforce. There is a sand castle you can tap to see it fall (or be built), boats that cruise along the water and even fish that will swim toward your finger if you tap and hold. This 'school' of fish was my son's favorite part of the app (and mine too).
The audio effects in this book are nicely done, pairing interactive elements with high quality sounds of the ocean environment. The narration in English, however, could use an update. The Spanish narration is beautifully done, but the English, while clear enough, is not a native speaker, which makes listening to it less enjoyable.
Overall this is a lyrical story, almost like an interactive poem. It is short but sweet with lots of fun elements for little hands to tap. It is also a top-notch educational title with words that highlight as read (and when tapped individually). The bundled extra activies are also well made, asking the child to match 'related concepts', pick items that 'don't belong' and answer reading comprehension questions. A great way for a child to have fun and learn at the same time!
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Nicolasa Jerez/Colectivo Saltamontes
4 - 10 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: Yes
Age: 3 - 8
English • Spanish •
A day at the beach is described in this story. First the family is on the sand, building a sandcastle and sitting under umbrellas. Then they explore the tide pools, finding shells, crabs & snails. Then an ocean scene is shown with sea gulls and pelicans swooping to pick up fish from the water below. Fishermen are on the next page, bringing in their catch. Soon the sun is setting and the day is done, leaving a moon-lit night. Educational activities follow the story.