Published in print in 2008 by May Tobias-Papa, A Day in the Market won the Philippine's National Children’s Book Award for Best Reads in 2010. As a digital app, it has light animation and some nicely tailored interactivity. There are also a couple simple games that tie into this charming narrative, exploring a traditional market in Southeast Asia. The story is told in the first person by a young Filipino girl who is excited to travel with her 'nanay' (Filipino for mommy/mummy) on Market Day. The pair rides a bus that bounces along before exploring the crowded stalls of fresh meats, fish and produce.
Beautifully illustrated pages and a lovingly crafted narrative expose young readers, ages 5 and up, to the sights and sounds of a busy marketplace. The excitement and bustle of the day are fun to explore from the child's vantage point. The games could be more educational with a bit more development of the theme of cooking and traditional Filipino foods, but they are certainly engaging to the target audience. It would also be nice to see highlighting added with the narration, along with hints to explain the interactive touch-points.
The only real downside to this otherwise pitch-perfect example of quality storytelling is entirely due to technical design issues. The app has literally no navigation, no page guide or home button or even a way to restart the app after it crashes or freezes without restarting from the beginning. This happened to our testing audience a few times, most notably a bug my little beta tester discovered. When he was moving the main character's little 'bayong' (contextually defined as a small bag), my child managed to trigger a passerby to 'steal' it ... or at least that was our explanation since the bag disappeared (we had to restart the story).
Page turns, by arrows, are also a bit challenging. The interactive enhancements draw the reader into the story at times, but they can also feel very random and unintuitive. Pages will not turn without a certain amount of time passing in most cases or a specific interaction is required (without hints or a way to skip forward). This creates an interruption in the plot that is nearly unforgivable by impatient digital readers.
And yet this title is exquisite in its own way. Many of the interactions feel thoughtful and tailored to the storyline. Most of the time, the effects really just need better hints and to be optional - not required to simply turn the page. Overall, the story is mesmerizing and beautifully told in text and audio, seamlessly tied into a digital framework ... if only there was some way to navigate (and bug-free).
A Day in the Market also represents a rare title with well-crafted cross-cultural themes AND the bilingual language option for audio/text in Filipino or English. This app was even released free and has continued (so far) to be a non-profit offering. (at time of review)
So, be forewarned that this is a title with a few minor technical quirks and challenges, but the overall storytelling experience is not-to-be-missed for young and old alike. Ultimately it's the timeless tale of a young child and her mother on market day that will warm hearts with a download of this lovely storybook, no matter what part of the globe you and your child inhabit.
Recommended. (with reservations noted above)
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.
May Tobias-Papa/Isabel Roxas
Adarna House, Inc.
6 - 8 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 5 - 9
A Day in the Market (Araw sa Palengke) is about a little girl's very first trip to the market with her mother. The market is indeed very fascinating as she meets lively vendors, sees their amazing offerings and sets her eye on something very special. Find out what this very special thing is, and enjoy the sorting game and the cooking game that come with the story. (from iTunes)