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The Birthday by Sylvia Van Ommen and Maurice van der Bij

February 15, 2011

By: Carisa Kluver

The Digital Media Diet

Where are all the birthday cards for little mouse ...

An adorable little mouse on a red bicycle stars in this sweet little interactive storybook for young children, from Winged Chariot. The little mouse is delivering the mail to her neighbors throughout the course of the story. She turns to the reader in one of the first scenes and asks, "Will you help me deliver the post?"

The child then gets to touch and drag the little letters to the mail boxes or directly to one of the animals on her route. The letter in her hand and the spot where the child needs to 'deliver' it are both indicated with a slight animation to let the child know what to do. After each letter is delivered, a second scene appears with new dialogue between 'Mousie' and her postal customers. This is an engaging way to make the child a part of the story and my 4 year old loved every page.

When the mouse finishes her route, she laments, "But there isn't any post for me ... not even one birthday card," riding home sadly. When she arrives at her house, she sees that the yard is decorated festively. All of her neighbors are there and yell, "Surpise!" and "Happy Birthday!" with a cake, sparkly candle and a throne waiting just for the birthday mouse. My son loved this ending and beamed as the little mouse discovers that all those letters were really party invitations.

This book has simple page swiping and very intuitive interactivity. There is also a small 'extra' called "stickers" that lets the child pick from all the animals in the book. Simple controls allow the child to tap the blank screen to add a 'sticker' of each animal. The sticker can even be made bigger or smaller with two-finger pinch. Once the stickers are placed the way the child likes them, a heart button saves a copy to your photos, or you can erase it and start over.

My only complaint with this book is the narration of all the different animal voices. Some of them are nicely done, but others are very difficult to understand. Some of the deep voices used for the animals 'fit' their personalities (like the cow and dog, for instance), but I would prefer more articulate and clearer narration instead, especially since it is aimed at very young listeners. I would also appreciate more settings, like a home button and also a way to turn off the narration so an older child can read the book to themselves.

The overall experience of this book is otherwise lovely. The story is simple but just right for young children and the illustrations are beautiful hand drawn images with lots of fun details in every picture if you look closely. I particularly liked the poodle getting her hair done in the minx's salon and the stork playing guitar. A treat for kids as young as 2 and a nice bedtime read if you can skip the stickers.

All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.


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The Birthday by Sylvia Van Ommen and Maurice van der Bij

February 15, 2011

By: Carisa Kluver

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Sylvia Van Ommen/ Maurice van der Bij

WingedChariot Press

Length (time):
4 - 10 Minutes

Based on non-digital book: No

Allows Own Narration:

Uses Motion: No

Age: 2 - 6

English • Japanese •Dutch •

Length (pages):
26 Pages


Story Synopsis - The Birthday by Sylvia Van Ommen and Maurice van der Bij

A cute little girl mouse is having a birthday in this little ebook. She is delivering the mail or "the post" during the course of the story, giving a letter to each of her neighbors. The mail route includes a hippo, polar bear, dog, chameleon, cow, fox, sheep, horse, zebra, stork, flamingo, turtle and several more animal neighbors. She is disappointed at the end to find not a single card for her, not even a birthday card. She bikes home to find a surprise party with all her neighbors in attendance. Supported by the Dutch Foundation for Literature.


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Orientation: Landscape

Format: Universal


English, Dutch or Japanese Narration

App Release Date:


Size: 43.27 MB

Version: 1.0

Lite Version Available: No



The Birthday by Sylvia Van Ommen and Maurice van der Bij

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