My Beastly ABC’s by Duncan Studios is a delightfully designed ABC app designed to teach and entertain children with an interactive storybook format featuring vibrant illustrations and animations that children and their parents will love. The app, designed by Duncan Studios features 39 pages, hide and seek as well as interaction on each page as well as a variety of hidden mini games. Best of all, the app is narrated or “performed” by Jim Dale, from Harry Potter, so immediately people are drawn in by the performance of the book. The interactive story features a little boy who goes from morning when he gets up on the “wrong side of the bed” and his beastly adventures throughout the day with a variety of mythical creatures on every page in alphabetical order. The app features an “interactive mode” which allows the user to control the story and engage in the activities; “auto-play mode” which plays in a format similar to a short film, “chapter menu” which allows you to move to your favorite pages or scenes and the “index menu” which provides fun kid, friendly monster facts and descriptions as well as the more traditional, “play with narration” and “play without narration”.
I really liked the mythical creatures and the “index menu” at the end telling us all about where each creature came from, it would be nice if this were interspersed within the text of the book to say “The Abominable Snowman” from Nepal appeared in the shower. The illustrations and performance of this book app were top notch and had us captivated and reading it over and over again. My son really enjoyed the “auto-play mode” and watching the story play itself through. The story is enhanced with the colorful and creative illustrations and plot within the story and hidden surprises like the question marks turning into a variety of beasts! We really enjoyed all of the mini games, listening to the narration and thinking of other monsters that might start with a specific letter.
In terms of improvements, I’d like to see the arrows used for navigation moved to the bottom of the page rather than in the middle. I felt that this sometimes interfered with the interactivity of the pages and moving them down might give more space for the storybook. I’d also like to see word highlighting and the ability to replay the text or narration on the page which would allow early readers to use the app themselves and see modeling of different words as well as sounds. It would be nice at the end to recap all of the monsters in one final page from A to Z just after the last page when the little boy goes to sleep as he thinks back to all the things he “saw and had done’.
This delightful interactive storybook is fun for parents and children to enjoy and read together. The non-traditional format of the app is a great diversion from traditional ABC books and the narration by Jim Dale adds an extra touch of excitement to the app. Interacting with all of the illustrations be it furry, friendly or merely strange was educational and fun to read over and over again!
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.
This review was originally published by TheiMums.com on December 7, 2012.
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. 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.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Pilar Flynn/Taylor Krahenbuhl
Duncan Studio, Inc.
20 - 30 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 3 - 8
Join this delightful interactive adventure as a timid boy experiences a magical day filled with friendly monsters from around the world! See this brilliant original story come to life in an educational, fun experience sure to enchant adults and kids alike. Enjoy entertaining games and fun interactive activities, all while experiencing the highest quality artwork and sound.