As adults, we have two categories of books, non-fiction and fiction. But have you ever asked yourself why we don't see as many non-fiction storybooks written for our juniors? Fortunately, the creative development team at Nosy Crow has released an innovative non-fiction storybook apps that are based on circular characters whose stories start where they end. In one of their storybooks entitled Rounds: Franklin Frog, the developers successfully explains the life cycle of a frog through the story of Franklin and his descendants.
Let's Hop to It
The app stars a frog named Franklin, who accompanies you as you learn about his habitat and other fun facts about frogs. During your exploration, you will also learn about the daily activities of a frog, such as jumping round in the pond, swimming underwater while avoiding the predator heron and eating snails, earthworms, and flies.
When winter comes, Franklin shows how frogs typically hibernate until the season changes. And when spring comes, he starts to search for a mate. Along with other frogs, Franklin make sounds in the night to attract a mate. He is then able to attract a female frog named Felicity.
As soon as they mate, Felicity starts to lay her eggs. She lays up to 2,000 eggs, forming a frogspawn, knowing that only five of them would successfully hatch into a tadpole. To help the eggs hatch, you need to protect them from being eaten by a larger fish.
Once an egg hatches into a tadpole, you will see how it quickly metamorphose into adult form. This resembles how in real life, the entire metamorphosis cycle would happen in 24 hours.
In the end, Fraser, Franklin's and Felicity's son, will repeat the entire story. Fraser and Flora would mate and beget Fletcher. Fletcher would then mate with Ferne and beget Franklin. Three full life cycles of frogs from Franklin to Fraser to Fletcher, until we return to Franklin again.
Things Parents Need to Know
Teaching juniors about biology and animal facts require a creative approach to pique their interests in the subject. In Franklin the Frog, the developers successfully explains the life cycle of a frog in a child-friendly way while keeping the important scientific facts intact.
The app features many fun facts about the frog's habitats, the concept of predator and prey, mating, the stages in a frog's lifecycle, and how the frog would metamorphose from a tadpole into adult form. Simply by tapping on the blue and green dots on screen, you can hear and/or read these facts.
Some parents may not appreciate the repetitive nature of the storyline, but that's a fact of life. I personally find it as a good way to teach my juniors about how life is actually a cycle from birth to death, and the story of human beings repeats itself from generations to generations.
Things I Like About the App
As a geek, I love to read fun facts. And I love the way the developer rewrites many of the facts about frogs in a junior-friendly way. Here are some of them:
"I have eight fingers and ten toes."
"Most frogs don't live in the water, they just live near it."
"My eyes reflect light in the dark. It helps me to see better."
While I deeply appreciate fairy tales and fables, I do think that Rounds: Franklin Frog is a fresh and educational experience not to be missed. The overall presentation of the app is well done; in addition to a well-composed tale, it also features a soothing soundtrack and lovely illustrations.
Also, I like how the app emphasizes on "rounds" in many details of the app. The illustrations, for example, are created in a unique style featuring only circles and divisions of circles. It is a simple technique but it works really well in the app.
Rounds: Franklin Frog is a lovely storybook app that features a non-fictional story about the life cycle of a frog named Franklin and his descendants in a very "rounded" theme. Barry Tranter, the illustrator, has managed to deliver a great set of illustrations despite constraining himself to using only circles. The app is a brave endeavor into a new territory -- non-fiction stories for younger juniors -- but I believe it's a worthy journey. I wish more app developers and storybook authors would be brave enough to follow in the footsteps of Rounds: Franklin the Frog.
Get Rounds: Franklin Frog on the App Store.
Note: Thank you the lovely team at Nosy Crow for providing us with a promo code for Rounds: Franklin the Frog. It was a well-rounded app!