I have spent countless hours over the past 20 years reading stories with preschoolers, first as hardbound books, and now as digital apps. Ferdinand Fox’s Big Sleep has all the elements I look for in a story, including non-threatening characters, simple illustrations, easy to follow action, and a positive ending. This is a new app whose first line sets the stage beautifully: “Ferdinand Fox curled up in the sun, as the church of St. Mary struck quarter past one.” It provides both parents and children an opportunity to talk about nature and being curious and how to enjoy experiences as they come our way.
Ferdinand Fox’s Big Sleep is written and narrated by Karen Inglis and developed by Well Said Press for the iPad. It can be enjoyed in two ways, with a Read by Myself or a Read to Me option. The instructions are intuitive and simple enough for even a very young child to understand. The red arrows at the bottom indicate “Go to the next page” (right arrow) or “Go back” (left arrow). Common vocabulary words are reinforced on each page as your child touches the pictures and hears the words. At the end of the story, there is a short word matching activity that reinforces the same vocabulary.
Ferdinand Fox, like all foxes, is shy and quiet. When Peter discovers Ferdinand asleep in his backyard, at first he is surprised, then curious. He watches from a distance and slowly approaches the sleeping fox. Eventually, he gets close enough to snap a photo, and then goes back inside to give Ferdinand more time to rest. A little later, the bells of St. Mary’s chime for 5:00; Peter looks out to check on Ferdinand and finds he is gone.
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I often tell parents that there is a difference between reading to a child and reading with a child. It doesn’t take much effort to read the words on the page. It is so much more beneficial, however, to talk about the story along the way and elicit comments and questions from your child. This helps develop what educators call background knowledge.
Ferdinand Fox’s Big Sleep meets all of my basic criteria for a story app and more. Although some adults cringe at the thought of stories that rhyme, I found that if they are well done, verses with rhythm and rhyme appeal to young children who are just learning how language is used. The lines in this story are well-written, as evidenced by the fact that they flow as they are read.
Ferdinand Fox comes to the App Store from Great Britain. The author/narrator has a lovely accent that enhances her telling of the story. She makes reference to a few items that may be unfamiliar to non-Brits (such as blancmange and cream buns), but this does not diminish the story’s appeal. The illustrations are good, but I notice a lot of empty white space on the pages. I also find that the animations are very basic and do not add much to the story. All in all, Ferdinand Fox’s Big Sleep would make a nice addition to your child’s digital library.
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 FunEducationalApps.com on November 26, 2013. Nathalie is a mom of three, always looking for top fun educational apps to support kids learning the fun way! She is the founder of Fun Educational Apps and Co-funder of AppStar Picks, a free app listing top reviews for kids, from trusted websites. She created Fun Educational Apps as a way to help parents, educators and teachers discover great apps. Together with her kids, they try new apps on an ongoing basis.
This app was reviewed by Julie Peterson, a speech/language pathologist (SLP) currently working in a school setting, serving children with special needs ages 6-14.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Karen Inglis/Damir Kundalit
Well Said Limited Apps
4 - 6 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 4 - 8 +
"Ferdinand Fox curled up in the sun as the church of St Mary struck quarter past one. His tummy was full, he was ready for sleep, and closing his eyes he began to count sheep..."
A beautifully illustrated rhyming picture book for children aged 3-6 about Ferdinand, a kindhearted urban fox. When Peter Maceever spots Ferdinand Fox sleeping in his garden and tiptoes out to take a photo, Ferdinand opens one eye and goes right back to sleep! He has far more important things to do - like dream about cake and ice cream!
Children and parents will love the rhyme and vibrant colors - and the passing of time as the church clock strikes from one to five.