This sweet picture book app for young readers is based on a well-loved print title, published in 2000. With just a few tappable sounds, PicPocket Books has created a faithful digital retelling of Roseanne Thong's delightful story about a little girl exploring her cultural environment. Told in the first person, the little Chinese girl names all the round (e.g. lantern, fishbowl, rice bowls, cups of tea), square (e.g. checkerboard, tofu cakes, dim sum, window), and rectangular (e.g. inking stones, mobile phone, Chinese lace, sack of rice, lucky money, books) items. After each series the narrator asks the reader to find more things that shape, creating a nice opportunity for dialogic reading. There is also a glossory at the end, listing definitions for some of the items in the book, including mooncakes.
As a digital offering, this multi-cultural story book is simply made, with no animation and only a handful of sound sprites that are not always intuitive, especially since these interactive sound effects are not found on every page. The images are beautiful, although the resolution on the smartphone version is better than the larger screen. The text of the story is shown in white on black, in a strip above and below the original illustrations. This makes the text nice sized and easy to read, but this solution means the images can't take advantage of the entire screen.
The format may be simple in this app-book presentation, but it is well-made overall. Like other PicPocket releases, it has easy swipe-style page turning, a clear font and highlights word-for-word. An articulate young girl's voice provides the voice-over, giving the story's narration a nice, authentic touch. A couple basic settings allow users to control the audio and highlighting, but additional navigation settings are lacking. It would be nice to see a page guide or at least a home button. Otherwise, this app is a perfect bedtime story and also a great resource for library and classroom storytimes. Featuring gorgeous illustrations by Grace Lin and a lyrical tale with rich cultural details, Round is a Mooncake would be a great addition to any digital book shelf.
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.
Roseanne Thong and Grace Lin
Take 2 Ventures LLC
4 - 6 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 2 - 8
Round Is a Mooncake, A Book Of Shapes: A little girl’s urban neighborhood becomes a discovery ground of things round, square and rectangular in this lyrical picturebook. Most of the objects are Asian in origin, others universal: round rice bowls and a round pebble, square dim sum and the boxes that pizza comes in, rectangular Chinese lace and a very special pencil case. Bright, whimsical art accompanies narrative rhyme and a short glossary adds cultural significance to the objects featured in the book. [Source: iTunes/Picpocket Books]