I’m looking for an app about… music
Every month, I link up with Playing By the Book‘s blog for a carnival of book reviews under the title “I’m Looking for a Book About…” This month, we are exploring music. It was very hard to stick to book apps this time and I have sneaked in a couple of activity apps towards the end of the list! Here are my picks:
I am a bit of a Francophile, so was delighted to come across this app featuring Léon and Apolline, two children living in Paris. One day in the Tuileries gardens, they see an old lady leave a mysterious chest on a bench. They decide to investigate; who could she be and what is the strange book of pictures inside the chest for? This is an interesting story with plenty of atmosphere and a happy ending. There’s some good interactivity too, such as pressing the button to help the children cross the road, and playing a variety of musical instruments. There are some small kinks in the English translation which could be ironed out, but they don’t really spoil the story’s charm.
Compatible with iPhone 3GS/4/4S/5, iPod touch (3rd -5th gen) and iPad. Available from https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/apolline-leon/id442380275?mt=8 priced at £1.49/$1.99 at time of writing.
A Fine Musician is a good choice for reading aloud, as it has a great rhythm full of rat-a-tat-tats. One day a strange man walks into town, playing a drum, and all the people come out of their houses to meet him. You tap the red and white doors and windows to bring the townsfolk out into the street and gradually the crowd grows and grows. In the end, the musician leaves a lasting impression on the town. There are echos of the Pied Piper of Hamelin in this story, which has a fairytale style with an unusual twist.
Compatible with iPad. Available from https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/a-fine-musician/id406573790?mt=8 priced at £1.49/$1.99 at time of writing.
Get ready for a retelling of The Three Billy Goats Gruff with a difference – the goats and the troll have rhythm! Author Dianne de Las Casas has written a really fun version of the traditional tale which is bound to get you and your children singing along. The bold, bright illustrations are also perfect for small children.
Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Available from https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/rockin-three-billy-goats/id547886458?mt=8 priced at £1.99/$2.99 at time of writing.
Little Fox Music Box is a songbook which includes London Bridge is Falling Down, Old Macdonald had a Farm and Evening Song. While the lyrics do appear at the top of the page, this app is less about reading and more about playing with all the different characters in each scene. This works particularly well with the first two songs as they are more upbeat. There is also a Little Fox music studio where children can experiment with the sounds made by all sorts of instruments, objects and animals. Little Miss Chatterbox is particularly fond of changing the seasons in Old Macdonald. Heaps of fun, with lots of detail in every scene.
Compatible with iPhone and iPad. Available from https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/little-fox-music-box-kids/id499541243?mt=8 priced at £1.99/$2.99 at time of writing.
The Singing Alphabet is deceptively simple: click on the letters and they will sing along to a catchy tune by making their sound. Tap out words and names, and see what the different combinations sound like. This is a great app for children starting to recognise letters. Note though that you can only use each letter once, as pressing it again turns the sound off. The app is a spin-off from the book Operation Alphabet, which includes an A-Z poster. We were lucky enough to win a copy of the book in a competition run by the Book Sniffer and we found that the book, poster and app work well in combination with each other.
Compatible with iPad. Available from https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/the-singing-alphabet/id524953292?mt=8 priced at £0.69/$0.99 at time of writing.
I’m not even going to pretend this has any connection with books or reading! It is simply a wonderfully addictive music app. Choose the characters you want to be in the band, and decide whether they should be centre stage or take a supporting role. Put a character into the star position to help them play a solo. From traditional instruments like guitar and double bass, to teeth-chattering monsters and deflating balloons, the quirkiness of the band members and the clever way their sounds blend together will keep you occupied for ages. And I mean you – your kids will struggle to get a turn with this app!
Compatible with iPhone and iPad. Available from https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/toca-band/id521640648?mt=8 priced at £1.49/$1.99 at time of writing.
I’m sure I must have missed some good apps about music, so please do let me know about any you’ve enjoyed.