Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Dentist Bird: A West African Folktale

Dentist Bird: A West African Folktale

Fall 2015 Mobile Apps
Ages: 5 - 8 yrs.
Developer: Literary Safari
Download Price: $1.99
Platform: iPad

Dentist Bird: A West African Folktale is an oil-painted e-book telling the story of how Plover Bird came to clean Crocodile's teeth. The book integrates the sounds and images of Liberian wildlife with an enchanting traditional folk story, offering interactivity on nearly every screen. Children can tap the animals to make them move, hear them make their sounds, or advance the story. As the plover collects the ingredients to heal the crocodile, there are mini-games to help the bird and earn achievements. When the story is done, there is more to explore: children can read about and listen to the animals of the story and can learn more about the country of Liberia. A grown-ups' section offers additional educational resources for using the story and the app in the classroom.

Finally, the app offers the "Mission of Mercy" game, in which the player controls the plover bird's flight to collect medical kits and help the crocodiles while dodging obstacles. The longer the bird stays in flight, the more points he or she can earn. The game does not offer any new educational value, but the music and look of the game blend smoothly with the book and may keep children the children interested in the world of Plover and Crocodile.

The book includes narration but parents and children can also read the story together, or independent readers can follow the words on their own. Every page has a hint in case the reader needs help to move forward in the story, though most activities are intuitive (the pepper-picking activity being a possible exception; that caused some confusion at first in our household, but once we sorted it out it was one of the more entertaining mini-games).

The visuals are a work of art. The folk-instrument soundtrack is appropriate to the environment and enhances the look and feel of the story. This book brings to life a whole new culture in a way that children are bound to enjoy.

Emily Crawford   ©2015 Parents' Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master's in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Look for this product at:
Literary Safari
Available on iTunes

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