Little Bahalia Publishing's first book app, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, is a short but sweet title featuring gorgeous illustrations with polished animation and well-crafted interactive elements. Each page has a different animal featured with the proper plural term for a group of each species. From a parliament of owls to a tower of giraffes, children will enjoy learning about the unique (and often comical) names for multiple creatures of any type. Among my child's favorites was the bloat of hippopotami and the quiver of cobras.
The story is simple, but well put together with subtle alliteration and nicely paced rhyming text. Colorful and engaging illustrations come to life with a combination of interactive and animated elements that will surprise and delight young readers. Smiles and giggles erupted from my little boy with nearly every page, especially when the owl turned its head all the way around and again when one of the apes cuddled & kissed her baby. These elements are well-tailored to the narrative, reinforcing rather than distracting from reading comprehension. The narration is also delightful, although it does not highlight as narrated.
This storybook was created with Demibooks Composer and includes a catchy original tune by Tim McCanna. Hi-fidelity nature sounds for each scene also do a lovely job evoking a sense of 'being in the wild'. Educational enhancements are also included in the form of a detailed parent & educator section. This section lists grade level, common core standards met, Bloom's Taxonomy and page-by-page discussion questions that make this much more than your typical book or app.
Also included, unfortunately are a number of links that leave the app, including social media links to Facebook & Twitter. Tapping on the icons does ask the user if they want to leave the app, but ideally, these links should be removed in a book aimed at children under twelve. The app also has ample settings to navigate the book, including a home button, page guide and easy page turning by tapping the bottom corners.
Overall, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys is an exceptional new release and terrific app for young learners. Top-notch production values and well-integrated enhancements create a seamless reading experience. Extension activities and curriculum alignment with common core standards provide extra educational value as well. The perfect book app for young animal lovers. Highly recommended.
Note to readers: This review was expedited by the developer for a fee. The content of the rating/review is the same, but timing of publication has been prioritized.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Julie Hedlund/Pamela Baron
LITTLE BAHALIA PUBLISHING LLC
4 - 6 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: Yes
Age: 3 - 8
"A Troop is a Group of Monkeys" is an interactive book for kids that introduces some of the fun plural nouns for animal groups (like "a pride of lions") in a musical, rhyming story. Written by Julie Hedlund and illustrated by Pamela Baron, the app features original music by Tim McCanna, whose ditty you won't be able to stop humming until long after the book is closed.
Each of the animal groups—a troop of monkeys, a colony of bats—comes to life on the screen and invites young readers to enjoy interactive play while reinforcing the vocabulary words on each page. The crocodiles snap their jaws, and the lions lick their paws. What do you suppose the skunks will do?
This story is tied to Common Core standards and includes information for teachers and parents on how to enhance a reader's comprehension with reading strategies and activity ideas.
This book app, the first in a trilogy about colorful collective nouns for animals, will be released as a hardcover book in fall 2013. Stay tuned!