"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Review: Crepes by Suzette, an app

 I LOVE Monica Wellington's book Mr. Cookie Baker (and the accompanying recipe is wonderful).

A couple years ago Ms. Wellington asked me to review her new book, another joy, Colors for Zena. You can read my review here.

An older book of Ms. Wellington's is Crepes by Suzette, a lovely picture book about a street vendor, Suzette, selling crepes from her food cart in Paris. This beautiful book has been transformed into an app available on both iPad and Android devices (here, here and here). The app acts more like an interactive story book than a typical app, but it is still good (probably better for their little minds) for entertaining your little ones.

Ms. Wellington was kind enough to provide me with the app for review. The app includes the book (either you turning the pages and reading it yourself or having Ms. Wellington read the story to you as you turn the pages).  The book can be read in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian or Japanese. The app includes two videos- one is Ms. Wellington in her kitchen making crepes and the second is a street crepe vendor making a variety of crepes. Also included is a recipe for crepes. There's a "map" and you can follow the book moving from page to page interacting with the story, or you can jump around the pages on your own. On each page, Suzette is pictured making crepes and when you touch the customers, they say, "Si vous plait," or other French phrases with real photographs of France as the backdrop (on the map, it tells you where exactly in Paris the scene is set). On the map for each page, there is extra information about that scene such as vocabulary, extra pictures of that location in real-life or information on the famous artwork alluded to on that page.

Since the app is intended for kids, I had my own children (aged 13, 11, 7 and 3) play it and report back to me what they thought.

My oldest, a 13 year old girl declared her favorite part as the video showing crepes being made. She thought the pictures were cute. And even at 13, she spent a good amount of time exploring all the things available to view on each page.

My second, an 11 year old boy. He also loved the video showing real-life crepes being made. He wanted to be able to click on the cartoon crepes and drag them to the customers. He spent the afternoon creating his own crepe shop our of boxes and folded up circles of paper.

Kid number three, also a boy, aged seven wasn't as big a fan. He thought it was a little boring, only videos and one book. He did explore it a little and seemed to enjoy aspects.

And last, a three year old boy, who loved listening to the book and making the people speak over and over again. He also loved that when you clicked on the ladybug, she also spoke, saying "Si vou plait."

The pictures are lovely as are the allusions to true pieces of art and the introduction to the city and culture of Paris. My only complaint is that there could have been more. It would have been fun to have the kids drag ingredients around to "help" make the crepe batter or help fold the crepes or pick toppings or fillings and then deliver the finished product to the customers. As for an age range, it is probably more for the 2-8 year old crowd (ignoring my grumpy 7 year old's review).

Overall, my family gave it 4.5 out of five stars.

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