Both Camila and I love storybook apps, as evident by the number of great storybook apps that we have reviewed on Geeks with Juniors. I believe storytelling is what makes human different from other God's creations. Everyone love great stories, including our juniors, so I'm always on the lookout for great stories to tell my sons.
Today, I will share about a classic story that was written by Don Freeman in 1973. Throughout his career, he was the author and illustrator of over 25 children's books. One of his creations, Flash the Dash, has been adapted to the iOS platform by the developer team at Auryn.
Flash the Dash tells the story of a dachshund couple named Flash and Sashay. Dachshund is a short-legged, long-bodied dog breed that belongs to the hound family. The couple lives in the backyard of an empty house at 1660 Bixby Street.
The story starts by showing the male Flash being lazy in the Spring time, sleeping through the day, while his spouse, the female Sashay, works real hard to earn their daily bone. One morning, Sashay feels that it was time for Flash to work for their living instead. Knowing that his time has come, Flash picks himself up and starts scouring for jobs in town.
Flash finally lands a job as a messenger at the Telegraph Office. After proving that he can deliver an important telegram to the Mayor in a speedy run, Mr. Orkin, the owner of the Telegraph Office, hires him and gives him the nickname Flash the Dash. Everyday afterwards, Flash would get up in the morning to work at the Telegraph Office, delivering telegrams to any destination in Rocksun, the small town where they live. Sometimes, he even needs to sleep away from home because he was too tired to go back home after long hours of work.
But after the Fall and Winter pass by, Spring time comes and Flash starts to get lazy again. One day, because he was sleeping, he comes late to the office. He finds a telegram at the doorstep and a sign saying that Mr. Orkin is out for lunch. Without looking at the envelope to see who the telegram is for, Flash takes a nap under the tree.
The Spring wind blows the envelope away without Flash noticing. Fortunately, a friendly lady is able to capture the envelope before it got blown away into a nearby pond. The lady notices that the telegram is meant for Flash. After waking Flash up, the lady opens the envelope and reads the telegram for Flash, which tells him that Sashay has delivered three healthy pups at the Hospital.
Flash then dashes straight away to the Hospital and is delighted to find Sashay and their beloved juniors. The story ends happily as Flash explains that he gets the message, literally, this time.
What parents need to know
Flash the Dash features 48 pages of excellent illustrations by Don Freeman. The illustrations are of the same quality as you would expect from today's major newspapers and magazines, as Don also illustrated cartoons for New York Times and other major publications. It's too bad that the text is so small, it's almost unreadable. Thankfully, the narrator's voice is really good.
If I have to choose between the moral values that an app tries to deliver and its implementation quality, I would definitely choose the former each time. After we have finished reading the story, it's the message that sticks with us. I really like the moral values that Flash the Dash conveys; it teaches our juniors that everyone needs to work diligently and with great determination to earn their living. They simply can't lay around lazily everyday.
What I like about the app
I don't know about you, but I really like the narrator's voice; I thought it was performed professionally. However, the app also allows you to record your own narration if you want to. You may find this useful if your juniors prefer to hear the voice of their grandparents instead. If you choose to go even further, you can always rewrite the passages on each page.
I also appreciate how the app syncs the narration with the passage in each page à la karaoke style. If you mirror the app to an Apple TV, your juniors can read the text clearly and they can learn how to pronounce each word based on the examples shown by the narrator.
Finally, the app also has an excellent interactivity feature. If you choose the "Read to Me" mode, you can also tap on various objects in the illustration to hear its name pronounced. A label will also appear near it, showing you how to write the word. It is one thing to see magazine-quality cartoons in a storybook app, it's another thing to interact with the cartoons and learn new vocabularies as you read the story.
Don't be fooled by the appearance or the style of the app. Flash the Dash is a great storybook app with excellent moral values and awesome magazine-quality cartoon illustrations by the late Don Freeman. If you want your juniors to appreciate Don's drawing style, learn from Flash's work ethics, and be exposed to a new set of vocabularies - I highly recommend this app.
Note: Flash the Dash is available as two separate apps, one for the iPhone and another (HD version) for the iPad. All screenshots for this review is taken from the iPhone version.