This free app comes with one storybook, Snow White, and lots of extras to go along with it. The story itself is not especially enhanced, although it is a very unique app overall. The goal of the app is to "expose children to their first Mandarin Chinese words and expressions, through stories, games and songs."
The storybook itself is a nice, traditional version of the fairytale about a girl who runs away from her evil (and vain) step-mother to live with a bunch of dwarves. There are some lightly interactive elements like tapping on images to hear sound effects (e.g. birds chirping and dialogue in English & Mandarin). What really stands out is the way the story intersperses Chinese within the narrated story using a content-centered language approach focusing on meaning rather than form.
Ther app also features a wonderful assortment of 'extras' that enhance language learning, like games, songs and even coloring pages that name the colors in Mandarin whenever you change the color of your brush. The games include a memory matching game with Chinese characters (with small images to explain the meaning), as well as a Bingo game to test language retention and a short sticker activity. All of these extras are familiar and fun for kids who may not even realize they are learning while they play.
Overall this is a solidly made app with a lot of great content. The first story is free, which also makes trying this language learning app a pretty easy purchasing decision. My little boy enjoyed it a lot (he thinks princesses are 'pretty cool') but perhaps the developer will create a second app more aimed at boys' interests someday soon? I certainly like the direction they've taken with this first app and look forward to seeing more from earlylanguages.com in the future!
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Miranda Paul/Sofia Scarone
early languages llc
10 - 20 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 3 - 9
English • French • Spanish •
In this traditional retelling of Snow White (one of several stories available through this app), certain spoken dialogue within the story is repeated during the narration in Chinese. The story follows the basic plot of Snow White. Additional stories are available as 'in-app purchases' including Cinderella & Sleeping Beauty.
"Snow White" is a fairy tale known from many countries in Europe, the best known version being the German one collected by the Brothers Grimm (German: Schneewittchen und die sieben Zwerge, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves"). The German version features elements such as the magic mirror, the poisoned apple, the glass coffin, and the seven dwarves, who were first given individual names in the 1912 Broadway play Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and then given different names in Disney's 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The Grimm story, which is commonly referred to as "Snow White", should not be confused with the story of "Snow White and Rose Red", another fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm. In the Aarne-Thompson folklore classification, tales of this kind are grouped together as type 709, Snow White. Others of this kind include Bella Venezia, Myrsina, Nourie Hadig and Gold-Tree and Silver-Tree. [Source: Wikipedia]
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