Rose Milany At The Beach is one of a series of interactive books, from the Rose Milany Collection. In this eBook, a young girl named Rose Milany spends the day at the beach with her little dog. The reader is invited to interact with Rose Milany and to choose her bathing suit, sunglasses and even build a sandcastle. The games solicit sound and visual memory of the child”. There is an option to ready and play the eBook in English, French or Spanish.
The eBook contains approximately 20 pages; 10 with the ability to interact with the page. Included are 3 games and a song. The 3 games are
There are 3 versions of the story (English, French and Spanish). In all three, Rose Milany narrates her adventures at the beach. On about half the pages, the children can touch and move the objects around to discover hidden elements and watch animations. For example, the sun is depicted as a daffodil, and to empty her pail you need to shake the net beside her. As well, in order to return to the home page, you need to tap a hat; I thought it was a way to change her clothes! The pages that cannot be “played with” flip by themselves, rather quickly. For most pages, each time you play, the animations and expectations are the same. For some pages you can rearrange the icons to different locations. Even if the child chooses a certain color bathing suit, it stays pink on all the other pages.
There are the same 3 games for each language. Common elements for the games are a question mark at the top to have the instructions repeated and background music throughout. In the Momread game, the children as asked 5 questions about things they saw in the story. I like this game as it really works on visual memory. When my students’ played it for the first time, they asked to go back and read the story again, so that they could actually concentrate on the pictures. The reinforcement for this game, is minimal, a “no” if they choose wrong and a “well done” when correct response is chosen.
The Stickers game is a visual copying game. The kids are asked to read the story and fill in the blanks with the missing “sticker”. There is really no need to read through the short paragraph; they just have to slide the object into the shadow of the sticker. The app does not let them place the stickers out of order and there is not verbal reinforcement.
I liked that the French and Spanish versions of the app encouraged vocabulary growth. Each of the pages contains short sentences and easy to follow instructions with games to promote visual and auditory memory. I also liked that the song throughout was catch and had rhyming. Each of the games resets as you leave the page which means you can complete it over and over again.One of my favorite parts was a song sung by Rose Milany. I liked the catchy tune and the rhyming aspect of this little song, present in all three languages. My students left the room humming the song!
In terms of improvement, I would like to see the English narration improved. The narrator has a heavy accent and it is difficult to understand. As we progress through the book, there are many other inconsistencies, in English ( crayfish is a lobster, asked for 3 colors of sunglasses when there are 4, the instruction pages do not show the correct items to look for “she meets a crab so sweet”, the picture is a pail and shovel). Throughout the English version, the grammar of production both written and spoken is completely off. Punctuation is not consistent either. I asked both a French and Spanish colleague to play around with the app, and they reassured me that none of these problems were present in their respective languages. The instructional pages have matching words, pictures and audible (pail and shovel pictures “she played with her pail and shovel” They actually found the app to be a lot more engaging and pleasing. There are significant “technical” differences between the English version as compared to the French and Spanish.Rose Milany’s accent in the English version hinders intelligibility and correct modeling. The accent is not present in the French and Spanish.
If possible, I would suggest re-recording of the narration with a native English speaker who could help read the story more clearly. The app does not have a locked section and there is one external unprotected link to the internet in the settings area. I’d suggest a gate to prevent kids from getting in here by mistake. The final few pages show Rose Milany with sunburn from sleeping in the sun for too long. I am not really happy with this message, although the kids found it cute that she was as “red as a currant”. Final pages Rose Milany is in the bathtub, healing her sunburn. The third game is one where the children are asked to help Rose Milany clean up the beach by putting finding 10 non-desirable items and putting them in the trash can. The items need to actually be put right into the can. If the kids just moved it to the edge it bounced back, resulting in remarks like “but that is garbage!” This was their least favorite game! I found the background music to overpower the audio. It would be nice to be able to turn off the background music and just “listen” to the story. Even when we wore earphones, the music was quite distracting. Although the pages look the same, and the animations are the same in all 3 eBooks, there are issues with the vocabulary in the English version.
Overall, this is a well done storybook in French and Spanish. The English narration needs a bit of work to be more usable for native English speakers as the current narration takes away from the story. The interaction and games are fun and encourage children to engage and see what they can learn from the story.
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 November 9, 2015. 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. Guest author Lisa is a Speech Language Pathologist who has been working in an inclusive school system for over 32 years. She works with children that have issues in all areas of speech and language. She loves her work and is always looking for ways to integrate technology.