I heard Queen Bee was in Paris, so I boarded a flight and stepped into the newest offering by award winning app developers, The Happy Dandelion – Queen Bee in Paris to see her latest show. This is the second in their Tiny Tourist Series, and it’s extraordinary in both content and the diverse amount of research that went into it. This trip is destination France. Teachers with Apps reviewed the first book of this series HERE. The book is brilliantly laid out with the text and illustrations presented on the whole screen, and there are multiple levels graded for learners at different ages and skills. By tapping at the bottom of the page, a tool bar pops up. It contains two flags and historical facts and information concerning the page. The fun facts add interest to kids beginning to see the world beyond where they live. It gives a peek into a culture – what the people like to wear, eat, how they celebrate and play. Each tab shares information for later on screen and off screen exploration to find out more about a subject. I love how the book is not just read to you, as it challenges early readers to attempt to be more independent with their reading skills by having to tap on the bottom of the screen if they want it read to them. Kids learning French will like the fact that tapping on the French Flag gives French narration. When learning a language it is often helpful to read children’s books, as they are clean, simple, and easily understood. As always on the home screen, Happy Dandelion includes tabs for Instructions, Contents (page finder), and History – with a timeline of the culture, and some of its leaders, and a Map of the country.
On opening, the character of Queen Bee is tired of having to stay in the hive all day, and truly aspires to becoming a dancer. One day she gathers the courage and follows her dream to leave the hive and check out the world beyond. She travels through towns and castles and places built high into the sky! Through vineyards and the beach she searches, looking for a place to dance. But alas, no place felt just right until…she saw her first musical – “Singing in the Rain.” And in the movie, she hears and sees Gene Kelly dance and sing, and knows it’s possible to fulfill her dream and in fact, envisions herself “Stinging” in the Rain. Onward she flies, but continues to stop at ancient prehistorical caves and museums of art, and samples some French foods. When finally she sees it, the place she was looking for, the Moulin Rouge! And so as it is said and shown, “You can be whoever you want to be.” And that is the moral of this story.
Each page is a visual feast awash with vibrant watercolors and collages, and the storyline is a beautifully written social story that speaks about the courage it takes to be oneself as well as highlighting the social and cultural mores of France. Pages deliver just the appropriate amount of activity, from movement of the characters to listening to audio files. They are flawlessly segued into the storyline, waiting to be uncovered rather than just gratuitously tapping on the page. This gives the story coherency and meaning, stretching out little attention spans to the story’s content.
A bonus to the purchase of this interactive book is that a portion of the price goes toward the conservation of bees. As bees are disappearing at an alarming rate, we all need to do our part to help support them in their work as helpers in the growth of plants that we eat. Their well being directly supports our own survival, and it is commendable that Happy Dandelion has now created a book to celebrate bees. I love all the books that have come out of this Studio. The thought and care to detail are amazing. Highly Recommended.