In 1871, Edward Lear published The Owl and the Pussycat, a nonsense poem, as part of his book Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany, and Alphabets. It is a beautiful piece of poetry, beloved and set to music frequently, including a 1960's version by Stravinsky. My favorite is from a record I had as a child, by Carly and Lucy Simon on the album, "The Simon Sisters Sing for Children". It makes a lovely accompanyment to this app, and is available on youtube.
As a nonsense poem, this is a delightful one by Lear, featuring a romantic mariner tale about an owl and a cat that sail for a year and a day. Lots of made-up words are included, like bong-trees and the piggy-wig. According to Wikipedia:
"Lear wrote the poem for a three-year-old girl, Janet Symonds, the daughter of Lear's friend poet John Addington Symonds and his wife Catherine Symonds. The term 'runcible', used for the phrase 'runcible spoon', was invented for the poem."
The app itself has beautiful illustrations by Ewa Podles, including the unique, double-sided 'runcible' spoon. There is also nice background music but no narration. Sound effects and light animation reward little tapping fingers, but there are no other enhancements to get in the way of a good read. This is a great story to read aloud with its lyrical verses. It's also an opportunity to learn one of the many folk songs to sing together with your child.
While narration would be a nice option, the only thing this app really needs is additional settings, like a pageguide, sound controls to turn music off and possibly a home button. When the app shut down on several occassions, we had to start the story over, although at only 11 pages, this isn't a huge inconvenience. The app was relatively stable, but did crash when pages were turned rapidly (simple swipe or tap at edge of page). Overall, however, the simple design, enchanting art and light enhancements make this a must-download. It is a relaxing bedtime read and also ideally suited for classroom or library storytimes.
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.
Edward Lear/Ewa Podles
Mofables sp. z o.o.
3 - 5 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 2 - 5 +
"The Owl and the Pussycat" features four anthropomorphic animals – an owl, a cat, a pig, and a turkey – and tells the story of the love between the title characters who marry in the land "where the Bong-tree grows".
The Owl and the Pussycat set out to sea in a pea green boat with honey and "plenty of money" wrapped in a five pound note. The Owl serenades the Pussycat while gazing at the stars and strumming on a small guitar. He describes her as beautiful. The Pussycat responds by describing the Owl as an "elegant fowl" and compliments him on his singing. She urges they marry but they don't have a ring. They sail away for a year and a day to a land where Bong trees grow and discover a pig with a ring in his nose in a wood. They buy the ring for a shilling and are married the next day by a turkey. They dine on mince and quince using a "runcible spoon", then dance hand-in-hand on the sand in the moonlight. [Source: Wikipedia]