Each year, millions of tourists flock to the City of Light that is Paris. Deemed one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Paris is home to many stunning sights from the epic Eiffel Tower to the dark Catacombs.
While visiting Paris is on my bucket list, for now I am content to read about it in The Happy Dandelion’s newest app, Queen Bee in Paris. The second in the Tiny Tourist app series, this interactive tale takes readers on a journey across France, visiting iconic landmarks and taking in the amazing art, food, history, and culture that the country has to offer.
Queen Bee in Paris is an original tale that presents you with a slice of France as seen through the eyes of a tiny tourist. The main character is a queen bee, whose desire to do more than just lay eggs leads her to leave her hive and travel through France.
Together with Queen Bee, you will visit charming little villages, towns in the sky, and various icon landmarks. You’ll also learn about the geography, history, art, and culture of France.
The app is beautifully illustrated, and every page contains hidden animations that are triggered by simple taps. For example, when Queen Bee sees her first movie, “Singing in the Rain”, you can tap on the sound button to hear Gene Kelly sing.
Additionally, you can swipe up on the bottom of the page to bring up a toolbar that contains fun facts. These facts are diverse, from a brief overview of France's famous cities to the French revolution.
Outside the story, the app includes two sections for additional learning: History and Maps. In the History section, you can view the historical timeline of France from 800 BC to 1959. And in the Maps section, you can see where France is on the map and the route Queen Bee travels along.
Parents Need to Know
In Queen Bee in Paris, you navigate through the book by swiping on either sides of the page. Swiping on the left side will move the story forward, while swiping on the right side will move it backward. If you want to jump to a specific page, you can access the Contents section from the main screen.
It should be noted that by default, the narration in the app is turned off. If your kids are not ready to read independently, you can turn on the narration from the toolbar where the fun facts are located. The app also includes narration in French; to turn it on, simply tap on the small French flag.
Queen Bee in Paris has no in-app purchases, no third-party ads, and no external links. No Internet connection is necessary to read the story.
Things I Like
Like past The Happy Dandelion apps, Queen Bee in Paris features vibrant illustrations and lots of fun surprises that will engage readers young or old. Some of the interactions are really clever; my favorite is where you can take photos of these charming French towns using the iPhone’s camera. I also enjoy finding hidden objects in the cave paintings, and looking at famous works of art at the Louvre.
The story itself is well-written, with a strong message: “You can be whoever you want to be.” It encourages the readers to break out of their molds, and pursue their dreams.
My only gripe with the app is that the text in the History section is a bit too small to read comfortably on my iPad mini. I think it would be nice if I could zoom in on the bits that I want to read. But other than this one complaint, the app is quite solid.
An excellent introduction to France, the story of Queen Bee in Paris will delight readers of all ages. It is beautifully illustrated and animated, with clever interactions that pull you in but don’t distract you from the story. Inquisitive readers will enjoy discovering fun facts available from the non-intrusive toolbar at the bottom of the screen. All in all, this is an app that you shouldn’t miss.
App was provided for our honest review.
About The Happy Dandelion
Located in New York City, The Happy Dandelion was founded in 2013 by Donna and Joshua Wilson. They conceive, create, write, illustrate and produce their own content with a passionate commitment to make engaging products that entertain children of all ages.
You should check out their other apps we’ve reviewed:
Little Lamb in Amsterdam is the first app in the Tiny Tourist series that takes ages 3+ on a trip throughout Netherlands. Using a little lamb as its main character proves to be effective in getting kids interested in learning new things and cultures. It’s easy to relate to, and can spark instant wanderlust.