Prancing, Dancing Lily is a universal book app and is based on a print book of the same name, written by Marsha Diane Arnold and illustrated by John Manders. Marsha is the award-winning author of eleven children’s picture books. Prancing, Dancing Lily is inspired by Marsha’s own childhood as she grew up on a farm with Ayrshire cows like Lily. The app also includes a puzzle section, and a scene selector that allows you to easily re-visit favorite pages. It contains no adverts or in-app purchases.
The story starts with an orderly herd of cows marching in for milking time, all except for Lily that is. Lily instead dances and prances about the pasture – which doesn’t sit right with the others. Lily’s Mamoo Rose and Grandmoo Iris were award winning lead bell cows, and soon it was to be Lily’s turn to lead the herd. However, Lily knows she just doesn't fit in, and sets off to find her perfect dance and a place that feels right. Throughout her adventures, Lily writes lovely rhyming letters back to the herd (complete with her signature).
Lily explores a variety of dancing styles and cultures, dancing her way around the world. Lily misses home and the herd, but she finally finds her perfect dance and a true home. The book has appealing illustrations and interactive features that delight the eyes and ears. Children can make Lily dance and twirl, help Lily to fax the heard and tap their own beat on the drum, just to name a few. It’s a little tricky to figure out the hot spots for these interactive features, but it doesn't take long for little ones (4 and up) to find them all – and what a surprise when they do find them!
Page turning is via either tapping on a hoof print or page swiping, we’d like to see an option to switch off the swiping as sometimes children looking for interactive elements can accidentally trigger this. The app has animation, sound effects and music. With the read by myself option you can still have the sound effects and music on as you read, which makes it more appealing to read and perhaps easier to imitate voice inflections and natural pauses during reading (a great learning tool for young readers). The app also includes a puzzle game with three difficulty levels and the option of 6, 12, or 24 pieces.
The puzzle pieces don't snap into place until placed exactly in the correct position and little give in this area (even just 1/8) would make it less frustrating for little fingers. The puzzle feature is geared more towards 6-9 year-olds than the younger crowd. The app includes links to the Fat Red Couch Website and the author's website, where there is a worksheet of extension activities. The worksheet is very useful but we would like the links childproofed to prevent children accidentally exiting the app.
For a free activity guide for teachers and parents, to go along with this book, click here.
This review was originally published by TheiMums.com on March 15, 2013.
The iMums – Amanda, Alison, Mary and Grace – are four mothers from different parts of the world dedicated to educating parents about the best digital stories, educational apps, fun games and technology products available for their children. Founded in August 2011, the four iMums have 11 kids among them ranging in age from 1 to 17 and bring a global perspective to their app reviews with the original iMum Amanda being from Australia, Alison is in America, Grace is from Singapore and Mary is from the UK but is currently living in America. At less than a year old, the Australian-based blog already boasts hundreds of reviews on family friendly iOS and MacOS apps and products.
This app has been thoroughly evaluated by our staff. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how it fared in all nine of our rating categories. See synopsis tab for more details about the storyline.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Marsha Diane Arnold/John Manders
Fat Red Couch, Inc.
12 - 15 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 3 - 8 +
Prancing, Dancing Lily is an interactive children's storybook app about an Ayrshire cow who loves to prance and dance, so she doesn't quite fit with her herd. Lily prefers stepping in time to staying in line - so she sets out to travel the globe in search of her perfect dance. Along the way she discovers new dances from Senegal to Turkey, makes new friends around the world, and causes lots of commotion. She also writes home about her funny mishaps along the way. When Lily finally finds the dance for her, she returns home and inspires her herd to step in line… a Conga line! Lily’s adventures bring joy to all the cows in the herd. In the end, Lily finally becomes the next lead bell cow.
Includes four free puzzles with three difficulty levels.
The award-winning story, first published as a book by Marsha Diane Arnold and illustrated by John Manders, was inspired by Ms. Arnold’s own childhood; she raised Ayrshire cows with her father in Kansas.