“Five Little Monkeys” has long been a favorite rhyme among preschoolers and Eileen Christelow’s picture books offer children a peek at the mischievous monkeys and their shenanigans on the printed page. While fans of series await the next print installment, Five Little Monkeys Reading in Bed (September, 2011), let them know about Oceanhouse Media, Inc.’s digital books; to date, the company has produced four apps about these playful creatures.
Title: Five Little Monkeys With Nothing to Do
Author: Eileen Christelow
Developed by: Oceanhouse Media, Inc.
Platforms: iOS, requires 3.0 or later
PreS-Gr 1– A straightforward adaptation of Eileen Christelow’s book of the same title (Clarion, 1996). This story about the rambunctious creatures sees Mama directing her bored brood to clean house and pick berries in anticipation of Grandma Bessie’s arrival. Monkey chaos culminates on the final pages as Mama, the monkeys, and Grandma view the predictably disastrous results of the housecleaning. Children may read the story to themselves or listen to it read aloud by choosing the “Read to Me” and “Auto Play” options; auto play also advances the story for listeners.
The narration is pleasant, with just enough excitement to mimic the antics on the page. While the interactive features are neither innovative nor particularly exciting, they do allow users to touch objects in the pictures, triggering the appearance of the corresponding labels on the screen–a useful feature for emergent readers, ESL learners, and preschoolers expanding their vocabularies.
The background sounds (mostly intermittent monkey screeches) are a distraction rather than an enhancement. However, there is an option to turn the sound off. There is no option to return to a previous page; a small arrow on the lower right side of the screen (in two of the three modes) only allows users to return to the main menu. Although this app faithfully reconstructs the book, the interactive features are not enough to make it stand out.- Erin Sehorn, Kalona Public Library, Kalona, IA