12 Days of Christmas – Polk Street Press Singalong is a charming iPad application which truly brings the traditional song of the same name to life, as well as re-enforcing number sequencing along the way.

I do so very much love the look of this app, as each of the verses of this song is illustrated by wonderful illustrated scenes demonstrating each of these twelve days, such as Three French Hens or Five Golden Rings, complete with cute animated elements, lovely details and patterns adding to the richness and whimsy of lovingly crafted application.

I find the color palette used here quite pleasing, with warm muted colors alongside brighter color choices of many shades of green, turquoise and orange that I very fond of. The subtle shading and brush strokes used here add to this app’s beauty and hand-painted quality that adults and children will enjoy, and I would feel privileged to be able to hang images from this app on the walls of my home.

The animals as well as the people incorporated within are simply adorable. I also greatly appreciate that the people found in such scenes such as the pipers piping, lords-a-leaping or drummers drumming include a variety of skin tones and hair textures which create a nice visual effect as well as a multi-cultural experience, something I would love to see more of in the U.S. iTunes store in general.

Two general sections are included, specifically Playalong and Singalong and I enjoy how this app opens up to 12 images, found in 6 squares – top and bottom – that represent each of the days included in this song – an important element in the Playalong section.

Here, children have an opportunity to learn about number sequencing as this app plays each verse and then pauses, allowing children to tap the number in descending sequence, starting with days 1 and 2, then asking the player to tap the number 1, as it is the start of the long trail of presents received on each day that build as the days go by, ultimately allowing young children to test their number recognition and sequencing skills counting back from day 12.

This app also allows children to record their own version of this song, including simply audio or video as well for iPad 2 users. Options include being accompanied by singing along words with the original recording or singing to an instrumental version by oneself.

The words in this section are not highlighted karaoke-style but are delivered line-by-line as one watches this song’s animation on the top half of the screen. I don’t think the lack of highlighting will make keeping in time with this song difficult since it is so well-known, and I like that one can sing along while being somewhat prompted by the singer to keep in time, or sing by oneself as the instrumental version is being played. Sharing one’s recordings via email or Facebook is made easy, and I also enjoy the fact that one can also watch this lovely illustrated song without making a recording.

12 Days of Christmas – Polk Street Press Singalong is a great app for iPad for any family who enjoys singing or listening to traditional festive Christmas songs. The illustrations used are perfectly realized for this application, and I hope to see more from artist Lesley Breen Withrow in the future.

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