Earlier this month we featured a review of Hello! Hello! I’m Snowman Joe! Today we begin a week-long look at more holiday apps with The Berenstain Bears Trim the Tree. Right now it’s on sale, along with another Oceanhouse Media title, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Title: The Berenstain Bears Trim the Tree
Author: Jan Berenstain and Mike Berenstain
Illustrated by: Jan Berenstain
Developed by: Oceanhouse Media, Inc.
Platform: iOS, requires 3.0 or later; Android
Series: Berenstain Bears
Price: $2.99 (current introductory price of $.99)
PreS-K-Identical in text and illustration to the book by the same title (HarperFestival, 2007), this app features lift-the-flap technology (the first omBook to do so). When the story opens, Papa Bear arrives home with a Christmas tree and the rest of the family—Mama Bear, Sister Bear, Brother Bear, and Honey Bear—join in to decorate it. They venture into the attic where they stumble upon old toys as they look for their favorite ornaments. The background music is seasonal and enjoyable.
Three modes to explore the storybook are available: “Read to Me,” “Read it Myself” and “Auto Play.” The first option highlights each word as the professional narrator reads. In “Read it Myself” users can turn pages at their own pace, and in “Auto Play” automatic page turns occur while the story is narrated. New readers can tap on a word to have it repeated; holding a finger on a sentence or a paragraph will cause it to be read aloud.
The lift-the-flap activity will likely be a favorite with youngsters as they tap on objects to reveal hidden items. The flaps are clearly visible and display such items as a playful kitten, a stuffed animal, a dollhouse, and a model airplane. Sound effects abound: Honey Bear’s giggles, a barking dog, Mama Bear’s repeated “hmmms,” and Papa Bear’s sawing as he trims the tree. Sure to be a favorite with Berenstain fans.—Michelle Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA