The Hat Monkey – Digital Storytime

By: Carisa Kluver of the Digital Storytime imgres-1"Monkey is Coming! Can you open the door?" begins this unique storytelling app by talented author/illustrator Chris Haughton. Developed into an app by Fox & Sheep, this title includes the first few sample pages of Haughton's print publications, including A Bit Lost, Oh No, George! and SHH! We have a plan. The main attraction in the app, however, is Haughton's exceptional storytelling in a new, digital environment. After tapping the screen (with just the quote above), an image appears on a door and a window. Periodically a little figure knocks on the door and window, prompting youngsters to let the little monkey with a tasseled ski cap into the room by touching the doornob. Once in the room, tapping on "hat monkey" elicits waves, expressions of love and even a little dance number. There is no text or language expressed, giving readers a chance to create their own narrative. Each page follows this same formula, beginning with a question, like "Monkey is hiding. Can you find him?" or even "Can you send Monkey a text?" But no worries, the text is not real, just a selection of emoji's, however, the app gives young children the experience of acting 'as if' in lots of different scenarios where they get to direct the hat monkey's actions. Nine scenes in all give this app lots of replay value. YouTube Preview Image This app could be used with children as young as toddlers or preschoolers (with an adult to engage in conversation) or with older kids exploring on their own or with peers. Kids over age 8 may be engaged with this app, however, it is short in duration when played by children on their own. The real richness of an app like this is embedded in the shared experience of a caregiver and young child. Apps like this are also great for eliciting 'expressive' language and storytelling from children. Simply play with the app with a child and talk about what you see, hear, feel and think as you are exploring together. For kids with articulation issues and other speech delays, an app like this can be invaluable. And with Hat Monkey, you will both find the experience noteworthy! Recommended! - See more at: Digital Storytime  DS_Logo    
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