The Traditional Storyteller – Anancie and the Drum of Common Sense is a lovely new universal app – part of a series of apps that brings traditional stories from around the world to life with the aid of wonderful storytellers.

I feel privileged to have been introduced to this series and been given the chance to review this specific app, Anancie and the Drum of Common Sense. This tale of the same name is a classic West African story about Anancie, a half-man, half-spider character who collects common sense from children in the end distributing common sense to all the land in a way most satisfying.

The delivery of this story is brilliant in its simplicity. This video recording is of Tuup, a master storyteller, who tells this story looking directly into the camera as he talks. There is no music, sound effects or interactions in this main part of this application, allowing my son to focus on the tale at hand, who was captivated with this man’s wonderful performance.

Storytelling is an art form, and for those gifted in this skill, the delivery can be quite mesmerizing. From the first few words of this story, I don’t think my four year old son, very cranky at the time, took his eyes off my iPhone.

My boy really enjoys the idea of a half-man, half-spider and the imagery of this creature trying to climb a tree – an important detail of this story. As a parent, I really liked the simple lessons taught as Tuup explains the common sense children express as he puts these rules into a drum that he tries to carry up this tree. There is also a moment in this story where Anancie gets frustrated by his own children, not realizing they were trying to help – moments both parents and children alike can relate to.

The length of this story is about 10 minutes, a great length of time for my son to be asked to sit and listen to a story from start to finish, and this expert storyteller does a great job of keeping the energy high throughout this tale.

There are a few other sections of this app with related materials.

Map Game is a very nice section that includes a series of tiles that combine illustrations and audio from moments of this story that need to be re-arranged from start to finish, testing children on the memory, comprehension and understanding of story structure.

Listen and Repeat allows children to listen to moments from this story and repeat what they can remember in their own words as they make their own recording.

Tell Your Story Game lets kids and adults record their own story and email to friends and family.

Bets Bits are short excerpts highlighting favorite moments from this story, a nice section to view when families don’t have 10 minutes for the whole story.

There are so many highly stimulating, interactive applications available that I always find it nice to share wonderful apps that simply contain great stories that kids and their adults can sit back and listen to. Anancie and the Drum of Common Sense, as well as the other apps from this series, would be excellent titles for families who love traditional storytelling.

I also think this app would be great for special needs kids who may need to practice being comfortable around others who make direct eye contact.

This app would also be great in a school setting as it demonstrates not only an excellent delivery of this thoughtful, classic story with important messages, but would make a terrific choice for teaching comprehension and dramatic structure as well as diversity. This traditional West African tale would be a very nice selection for classrooms that may be looking for more multicultural activities.

I have become very excited about this series of apps as I am a fan of traditional storytelling in general, and I love seeing this ancient tradition kept alive with the use of such modern devices.

Posted in: By Age Range, By App Feature, Creativity, Just For Fun, Language, Parents and Kids, Preschool, Reviews, Social, Special Needs, Stories, Toddlers

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